The Los Angeles Times, in today's editions, reports that Atlanta Hawks owner Ted Turner has instructed team President Michael Gearon to enter the bidding for the Lakers' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who became a free agent at the end of the playoffs.
Tom Collins, the agent for Abdul-Jabbar, said he met with Lakers owner Jerry Buss on Friday for the first time since the season ended. Collins characterized the talks as "cordial," but said he was not optimistic about his client re-signing. Collins said the Chicago Bulls are Abdul-Jabbar's first choice if he does not stay in Los Angeles.
"The meeting was cordial and it went as I expected it would," Collins told the Chicago Sun-Times. "He understands very well why Chicago is doing what it's doing and he accepts that. I think we both sense there's a good chance that Kareem is gone."
The Bulls reportedly are willing to pay Abdul-Jabbar, who became a free agent at the end of the season, $2 million for each of two years. The Times said the Lakers are offering a package that would amount to about $1.5 million a year; Collins said Abdul-Jabbar wants $1.8 million for each of the next two years to stay with the Lakers.
Collins said Buss was planning to check out what type of compensation or players he might be able to obtain from the Bulls if a trade could be worked out.
"I can't say for sure, but I believe he (Buss) was thinking that he could get (Dave) Corzine from the Bulls," Collins said. "That's something that he's going to have to pursue."