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Isiah Thomas Pays CBA Debt

July 18, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) _ Isiah Thomas has paid off the $750,000 he owed team owners in the Continental Basketball Association, possibly clearing the way for him to coach the Indiana Pacers.

The Hall of Famer is one of two acknowledged candidates to succeed Larry Bird, and an announcement could come this week. Pacers assistant coach Rick Carlisle is the other candidate.

Pacers spokesman Jeff McCoy said Tuesday the club had no comment on its coaching situation.

Thomas sent certified checks to the owners on Thursday, though CBA spokesman Matt Fendon did not know if all the owners had received them.

Thomas has been told by NBA officials that he must sell his ownership of the Phoenix-based CBA, which he bought last year for $10 million, to accept any NBA coaching job.

Don Frye, former owner of the CBA’s Fort Wayne Fury, said he received a check Monday, more than seven months after he expected the payment.

``I don’t know if he paid the full $750,000, but he paid the $186,000 and change that he owed us,″ Frye said.

CBA president Don Welsh told the Chicago Sun-Times there were a lot of snags in completing the payments.

``We have paid off every penny of that installment,″ he said. ``The job of consolidating nine ownerships into one took much more accounting time than expected.″

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