Nets' owners give staff vote of confidence

January 15, 1995|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- According to one of the franchise's principal owners, Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson won't be leaving town soon, Butch Beard's job is not in jeopardy this season and for every questionable personnel move Willis Reed has made, several others may have cemented his position as the Nets' general manager for the remainder of his contract.

David Gerstein, vice chairman of the board of directors, who along with the chief executive officer, Alan Aufzien, represent controlling interest among the franchise's seven owners, issued sweeping support for the Nets' most prominent figures last Thursday.

Gerstein said the Nets have a long-term commitment to Coleman and Anderson. Brushing off recent controversies swirling around the club's all-star players, Gerstein said neither player is headed for the trading block and that ownership hoped to continue building around the two players.

"I think he's happy," Gerstein said, playing down Coleman's trade requests earlier this season. "Derrick is Derrick. We're comfortable with him. I've talked to him about a number of things, and we feel he is going to stay here.

"Now, if someone came to the Knicks and offered Shaquille for Ewing, well . . . . it's just business. But I don't foresee us making any moves along those lines."

Anderson's situation is identical. While his Atlanta-based agent, Richard Howell, was disappointed that the club did not make an offer before the November deadline to restructure contracts, Gerstein made clear that ownership was committed to re-signing Anderson to a long-term extension after his current five-year, $14 million deal expires at the end of next season.

Gerstein also intimated that Beard's job is safe and that the organization is content with his performance almost midway through the season.

"It hurt to lose those, but you can't fault Butch for all that . . . . He's never been able to put the team on the floor he has wanted."

Although Reed has come under intense scrutiny this season for several moves -- including the drafting of Yinka Dare, a project center, instead of Wesley Person, now a productive shooting guard for Phoenix -- Gerstein maintained that the club's general manager will remain as ownership's primary source of information regarding decision-making.

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