True to his modest prediction last week, David Thompson is about to become pro basketball's highest-paid player: $4 million over the next five years.
Right there in Denver.
Carl Scheer, Nugget chief executive, reported tentative agreement yesterday with his about-to-be-free agent, evidently saving him from being snapped up by the N. Y. Knicks' or L. A. Lakers' bulging purses. "Although nothing has been signed yet," Scheer cuationed, "David has agreed to the terms and is excited and delighted.
It must be good to keep D. T. happy, even with N. C. State buddy Monte Towe leaving Denver to help coach the Wolfpack back to glory. Happy as are Scheer & Co. over arbitrator Peter Seitz' ruling yesterday that guard Brian Taylor - for whom the Nuggets dealt Thompson's other N. C. State 1971 national title mate, Tom Burle-son, to Kansas City last summer - did more contract-breaching then the clud did in the money hassle over which Taylor ditched the Nuggets at midseason, Jan. 16.
If any other NBA club signs free spirit Taylor, Denver will have compensation coming. . .
If Julius Erving of the Sixers plays second fiddle in the NBA money league (for how long?), nonetheless there's fresh high finance from Philadelphia, an $8 million tune: one more refinancing deal closed by Leonard Tose to keep the wolves from his NFL Eagles' door. Three bank loans to satisfy another bank that footed Tose's purchase of the club from Maryland contractor Jerry Wolman in 1969 . . .
Congressional pressure keeps telling on CBS-TV. Two boxing developments: (1) CBS' senior vice president for sports programming, Barry Frank, says the network probably will not exercise its option to carry the Leon Spinks-Muhammad Ali title rematch: too expensive, CBS had a deal with Top Rank Inc. and boss Bob Arum to televise three Spinks fights, but Frank says, "The sum of the two fighters' purses plus training expenses is about $7 million and I don't think we'll buy it. The Ali match is expected from our deal with Top Rank." (2) CBS has made its "houses" fighter, Olympic lightweight champion Howard Davis Jr., a virtual free agent. The network signed him to an exclusive contract last year (after ABC tied up Sugar Ray Leonard) that raised eyebrows. At the November hearings before the House Communications subcommittee, CBS promised to look into the Davis contract. Now the word is, after Davis' next bout, May 13 against Larry Stanton in Orlando, Fla., the boxer is free to offer his fights to the other networks. But CBS still gets a maximum of eight Davis fights through Sept. 30, 1980, for which it will reward him with $185,000 per . . .
Congress and sports. Yesterday, Martina Navratilova was reduced to tears - she fled the visitors' gallery and wept in the hallway - after the House decline for the second time in two weeks to take up a bill that would have hastened her U. S. citizenship.
The expatriate Czechoslovakian tennis star, now 21, applied for naturalization Oct. 6 1975, and the customary waiting period would extend to Oct. 6, 1980. But Rep. Jim Collins (R-Tex.), in whose Dallas district Navratilova resides, sought to reduce that five-year wait so she might be eligible to play on the U. S. teams in Federation and Wightman Cup competition in 1978-79. Some congressmen, notably Rep. John Rousselot (R-Calif.), have argued that athletic ability is not sufficient reason for preferential treatment over the 77,000 others currently awaiting naturalization. And Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D-Pa.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration and citizenship, dissenting from his group's 4-1 approval of the Navratilova bill, stated that passage would "encourage other talented athletes and performers to seek exceptions . . . invite, if not ensure, a rash of private expeditious naturalization bills every four years just prior to the Olympic Games" . . .
Rich get richer: NCAA basketball champion Kentucky wrapped up recruiting by picking off, as third of only three Coach Joe Hall was allowed this year, the 6-6 MVP of the K of C Tournament here, Clarence Tillman of all-winning West Philadelphia. . .
Back where Peter Seitz first made a sports arbitration name, in baseball, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn has changed his mind about the favorable effects he first saw in the re'entry draft for free agents. Now, he said, too many are going to the stronger teams, competitive balance jeopardized. But Kuhn told an Atlanta audience he sees plenty of room for expansion:
"There are too many cities which are capable of supporting major league baseball which do not now have teams not to expand in the next few years. I foresee the day, further down the road, when we may even go international . . . places like Manila and Thailand."
And after that, maybe even the District of Columbia?.