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Paper: Nets May Move to Long Island

December 24, 1997

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ The New Jersey Nets, reacting to news that the Devils are making preliminary plans to move to a new arena in Hoboken, N.J., are considering a move to Uniondale, N.Y., according to a published report.

The proposal would have the Nets move to Nassau Coliseum _ where the team played two decades ago _ while a new arena is built in Uniondale.

Officials at the Nassau County Sports Commission and the Palladium Co. _ the real estate investment company that is buying the New York Islanders _ told The Star-Ledger of Newark for today’s editions they are interested in bringing the Nets back to Long Island.

``We would love to have the Nets,″ said Stephen Ross, a Palladium partner. ``But this is extremely premature. We don’t even have the Islanders yet.″

The Nets, who began informal discussions with Nassau County officials more than a year ago, have become more interested in the prospects for a new Long Island arena, according to sources familiar with the talks.

The sources, not identified by the newspaper, said the Nets are concerned about losing bargaining power with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority _ which oversees the Meadowlands _ because of the Devils’ bid to move to Hoboken.

The Nets’ lease to play home games at the Continental Airlines Arena expires in 2000, while the Devils’ lease runs through 2007. Sports authority officials have said the Devils can’t get out of their lease until then.

Nets president Michael Rowe said the team wants to continue playing at the Meadowlands.

``We are in the process of negotiating a lease improvement with the Sports Authority,″ Rowe said.

Gary Wadler, chairman of the Nassau County Sports Commission, would not comment on talks with the Nets. But Wadler said his organization is very interested in brining an NBA team to Nassau County.

The New York Nets played at Nassau Coliseum from 1971 to 1977, when they were part of the American Basketball Association.

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