Basketball: Towers silent on Duck import

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The Independent Online
LONDON TOWERS' preparations for last night's League Trophy quarter- final with Leicester City Riders were disrupted by speculation that they intend to import an American player before Sunday's transfer deadline.

Towers have their full quota of five Americans and one would have to go to make way for a new player, but their general manager, Rick Taylor, angrily refused to be drawn on the club's plans. "No comment. I'm not going into it. This is messing with players' futures."

Towers were desperate to keep any signings secret because if they are unable to obtain a work permit for a new player before Sunday's deadline they will not be able to change their squad anyway.

The unlikely named Randy Duck was the unwitting focus of the speculation. "He's in Germany," Taylor said. "He tried out with us a week ago and now he's trying out with German clubs. Other players have tried out with us as well. Whoever suggests we're signing Randy are either just speculating or they're a week late with the news."

All four quarter-finals were scheduled for last night, but London's training session cannot have been helped by the five Americans wondering which of them is about to be axed. Danny Lewis and Ray Schultz should be safe as they do not require work permits, while Malcolm Leak is averaging 18 points a game. Eric Kubel and Dwayne Morton seem most under threat.

Bob Donewald has been fined pounds 300 and banned for two games for his latest outburst against referees, but his club, Derby Storm, intend appealing on behalf of their coach. Donewald was fined pounds 300 earlier in the season for criticising referees.

Allen Iverson has signed a $70.9m (pounds 43m) contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers of America's NBA. It is the largest contract guaranteed by the Sixers. Iverson will get the maximum for a player entering his third season in the league.

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