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Report: UM's Hamilton to Wizards

By Times wire services

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000

WASHINGTON -- University of Miami coach Leonard Hamilton has told the Wizards he will accept their coaching job, the Washington Post reported today.

However, the Post said, Hamilton had not signed a contract and still could decide to remain at UM.

Hamilton, Hamilton's attorney and Michael Jordan, the Wizards' president of basketball operations, did not return calls seeking comment Monday. Neither UM nor the Wizards had coach-related announcements scheduled as of late in the day.

The major obstacle to Hamilton's departure from UM, a buyout figure for his contract, was settled over the weekend.

"These things are fairly deliberate, take some time," UM athletic director Paul Dee said. "We have completed the phase of the negotiation between the university and the coach ... which releases him to conduct his negotiations with the Wizards.

"They're in Part Two now, of which I'm not a relevant player. When they are able to complete their transactions, then we'll know."

Saturday, Hamilton and UM officials agreed that the coach could buy out his contract for $1-million. Hamilton signed a seven-year, $5.5-million contract extension in April.

Jordan and Hamilton reportedly agreed in principle to a five-year deal worth about $10-million, not including incentives, if Hamilton decided to coach the Wizards.

Louisville coach Denny Crum told the Lexington Herald-Leader a UM booster already had called him and essentially offered him the Hurricanes job.

"One of their prominent boosters called me," Crum said. "He said the job's mine if I want it."

Crum said he was flattered by the interest, "but this has been my home for 29 years, and when I retire, it will be as a Louisville Cardinal."

Dee said a replacement for Hamilton would be hired through standard procedures.

"Whoever the booster is, I wish they'd give me a call," Dee said.

Former UM star Rick Barry told the Internet site he would be interested in the job if Hamilton left.

"It would be a great fit," said Barry, who played for Miami from 1962-65 and is the school's all-time leading scorer. He now coaches the Naples-based Florida Sea Dragons of the United States Basketball League.

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