INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ Los Angeles Sparks president Johnny Buss said Thursday there's about a 70 percent chance the WNBA team will move to the Staples Center in 2001, despite his preference to remain at the Forum.

``That's certainly where the league is pushing us,'' Buss told reporters as the team conducted its media day at the Forum. ``I would be very happy to stay here.''

Buss said his father, Jerry, who owns the Forum and NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, wants the team to remain there because of its need for tenants after the departure of the Lakers and NHL's Los Angeles Kings to the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

A move to the Staples Center would also likely increase the expenses for the Sparks.

The WNBA has written to Jerry Buss seeking to begin discussions over ``the eventuality of us moving to Staples,'' Johnny Buss said.

The league's initial desire was to have the Sparks begin the 2000 season at the Forum and complete it at the Staples Center after the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention.

``I don't think I could do that to my fans,'' Buss said. ``I don't think the WNBA is going to force us to split our season.''

Buss was uncertain how strongly his father would fight a move to the Staples Center, but the younger Buss ruled out a legal challenge.

``I'm not going to get in a legal battle with the NBA about who's going to play where,'' Buss said. ``We want to what's good for the league. If it's good for the league in 2001 to play at the Staples Center, we will be considering it.''

All 12 WNBA teams are operated by NBA teams and required to play in the same arenas. However, Buss said he and the WNBA, ``had a prior agreement'' to allow the Sparks to remain at the Forum as long as his family continued to own the building.