Hamilton, Miami reach buyout deal


MIAMI - The University of Miami and basketball coach Leonard Hamilton yesterday agreed to terms of a buyout clause, and barring a sudden change of heart, Hamilton is expected to announce his resignation and be named coach of the Washington Wizards tomorrow.

"We have come to an agreement that is satisfactory to both the university and Leonard, and now he is in a position to make the decision that's best for him and his family," said Ronald Stone, a Miami Board of Trustees member who was in on the negotiations. "I'll personally deeply regret if he goes, and I really believe he has yet to make a decision, but now both he and we are satisfied with the agreement we came to."

A source close to the negotiations said Miami agreed to reduce Hamilton's buyout from $2 million to $1 million on the seven-year contract extension he signed in April. The contract would have paid him an average of $750,000 per year.

The Wizards have offered him a five-year, $10 million contract, four years of which are guaranteed.

Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who has said he holds little hope that Hamilton will stay, said yesterday: "There are still a few things we have to do, but I believe we can get there quickly. We're right on target. The talks have been very amiable."

Hamilton remained tight-lipped about the negotiations, except to say he now has all the information he needs to make his decision.

"A lot of people think it's logical for me to take this job, but I can honestly say I've wrestled with it all week," Hamilton said. "I was waiting to have all the information on the table before I made my decision.

"I'm very happy that my conversations with the university have been up-front and honest the past few days because I want to maintain the good relationships we established over the past 10 years."

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