Pacers Working Hard To Keep Rose

Thursday, July 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Pacers president Donnie Walsh has met with Jalen Rose to discuss re-signing the free agent, who could command at least $9 million next season.

The meeting came Wednesday amid speculation that Rose may be considering opportunities with other NBA teams. He has reportedly spoken with representatives of the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.

Walsh would not comment Thursday about his discussion with Rose, other than to say it was positive.

It won't be Walsh's only negotiation this month. He is also continuing talks with representatives of the Pacers' other free agents who are not considering retirement — Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson and Austin Croshere. All three have said they want to return to the Pacers.

Free agents cannot sign contracts until Aug. 1. Verbal agreements made before then are not binding.

Rose is seeking the maximum allowed to players with his experience, and the Pacers are believed to be willing to pay it.

That means Rose would receive a seven-year deal that starts at $9 million per season and increases by 12.5 percent each year.

The most Rose could receive from another NBA team that is under the salary cap would be a six-year deal starting at $9 million and increasing by 10 percent annually.

The Pistons will be under the salary cap by nearly $8 million if they do not re-sign Grant Hill, and could clear more room with trades. The Raptors have a similar amount of room under the cap if they do not re-sign free agent Tracy McGrady, who is expected to jump to another team.

Walsh's salary discussions won't be finished after his free agents are settled.

Dale Davis is seeking a contract that improves on the $21 million he will receive over the next three years.

The 31-year-old Davis, who played in the All-Star game for the first time last season, said he believes he deserves a salary that reaches $10 million.

A contract extension could pay Davis only a 12.5 percent increase each season, so his only means of reaching his salary goal would be re-negotiation.

But under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the Pacers could not renegotiate Davis' contract without renouncing the rights to all but one of their free agents.

An extension might be all he's getting. Walsh said Thursday he hasn't spoken in detail to Davis' agent and hasn't yet been told of his demands. But he said he told Davis' agent he's ready to offer an extension.

``I know I can do that,'' Walsh said. ``And this would be the first time I could do that, and so I intend to,'' he said.

Davis believes he was shortchanged last year after a misunderstanding with his former agent limited his ability to test the free agent marketplace.

``This is the one time I have left in my career to get the best deal possible. When you look at how much some guys are making, I'm kind of way down there,'' Davis said.

The Pacers begin summer league play in Atlanta on July 12 and then play in Boston July 17-24.

Walsh said he is still weighing his choice for the next Pacers coach following Larry Bird's departure. Assistant coach Rick Carlisle and Isiah Thomas remain the top candidates.

Walsh said he'd rather have a coach to help him with the negotiating that goes on during the draft and free agency, ``but in this case it wasn't possible.''

He said he's discussed his moves with both Thomas and Carlisle, and that he feels no pressure to select a coach by any certain date.

Mel Daniels will coach the summer league team if a head coach is not in place, with help from fellow scout Jimmy Powell and assistant coach Dan Burke.

Daniels began informal workouts with first-round draft pick Primoz Brezec and Jaquay Walls on Wednesday. Jonathan Bender and Jeff Foster are expected to join later this week.