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Tuesday, August 19
Former investment banker leads partnership group

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sen. Jon Corzine and real estate developer Charles Kushner are involved in discussions to buy the New Jersey Nets in an effort to prevent the team from moving to New York, according to published reports.

Corzine and Kushner have been talking to Nets owners and reviewing the team's financial records, and could present a bid as early as next week, sources in New York and New Jersey involved with the negotiations told The New York Times for Tuesday's editions.

Corzine, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Kushner, a Democratic political contributor, are the leaders in a potential partnership forged by former Sen. Robert Torricelli, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Torricelli has been seeking investors to keep the NBA team from leaving New Jersey, sources, including a board member of the YankeeNets holding company, told the newspaper.

The New York Yankees and the Nets are two major assets of YankeeNets, which could fold if the Nets were sold. YankeeNets also owns the NHL's New Jersey Devils.

A spokesman for Corzine said the senator was unavailable for comment. Howard Rubenstein, the spokesman for Kushner and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, declined to comment.

It is unclear whether Corzine and Kushner would push to keep the Nets and the Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, where they now play, or try to revive a stalled plan for an arena in Newark.

Other potential buyers include New York developer Bruce Ratner, who would move the team to a new arena in Brooklyn, and New York Islanders owner Charles Wang, who has intensified negotiations with Nassau County, N.Y., for a new arena.

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