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Billion dollar NBA deal near

Turner Sports is denying a report it has finalized a new TV deal with the
National Basketball Association.

But the two sides may be close to an agreement that would put NBA games on
TNT and create a jointly-owned basketball channel.

Sources say a new 4-year deal worth more than $1 billion could come down by

The NBA and TNT/TBS are in the final year of a four-year, $890 million
contract. ESPN could still get a piece of the NBA deal if its co-owned network,
ABC, wins out over NBC for the broadcast portion.

An ABC/ESPN sharing arrangement would likely resemble their NHL coverage,
with most games airing on ESPN and a few marquee games on ABC.

Sources say NBC is the frontrunner.

Former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson says NBC has more leverage.

'They give the NBA a tremendous amount of promotional and on-air exposure,
much more than ABC could because of other commitments like golf and the NHL
during the NBA season,' he said.

NBC would likely pay less than the $1.75 billion it ponied up for the current
deal that ends after this season.