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Donovan mulls his Magic pact

Billy Donovan's NBA coaching career might end up being a whole lot shorter than his pro playing career -- and that didn't last very long.

Donovan is trying to void the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed last week with the Orlando Magic in hopes of returning to the Florida Gators, a person familiar with the negotiations said yesterday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Earlier yesterday, the Magic said Donovan was "conflicted" about his decision to leave the two-time NCAA champions. The NBA team also said talks were continuing regarding his contract.

"While Central Florida, the Orlando Magic, and Billy were energized with the announcement of his contract signing on Friday, we know there was a different feeling in Gainesville and people have been tugging at him since that time," the Magic said in a statement.

"Billy is conflicted with those emotions and the opportunity he has ahead in Orlando and in the NBA. We've had numerous conversations and a personal visit in Gainesville with Billy over the last 48 hours, and we have a commitment from him that the dialogue between us will continue.", citing two anonymous sources, first reported Sunday that Donovan was having second thoughts about coaching the Magic and approached both sides about getting out of the deal. According to one of the sources, the Magic forced Donovan to make a rash decision.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he had been advised not to talk about the situation, a possible indication that Donovan was trying to return to Gainesville.

Donovan, who played 44 games with the New York Knicks, did not return repeated calls for comment.

Spurs wary of cast
LeBron James is the star of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the San Antonio Spurs know better than to ignore the other four players on the court.

"They wouldn't be in the Finals without LeBron, we wouldn't be in the Finals without Tim Duncan," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Sunday. "That goes without saying. But they still would not be in the Finals, nor would we, if we didn't each have our supporting casts. Everybody else has to fit."

San Antonio was 0-2 against Cleveland during the regular season. The Spurs held James to 19 points in the second meeting, but the Cavs put three other players in double figures in their 82-78 victory. Two other players scored 8 points.

"They've been playing great," Duncan said. "They're on a high right now, playing with a lot of confidence. We're going to have to really come out and shake this rust off quick this first game and really try to jump on them."

After beating the Utah Jazz in five games for the Western Conference championship, the Spurs will have had a full week off by Thursday's start to the Finals in San Antonio.

Pistons to keep Flip
Flip Saunders will be back as coach of the Pistons next season, an NBA official with knowledge of the team's plans told the Associated Press last night. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Pistons haven't made an announcement about Saunders's future, said bringing the coach back for a third season is part of Detroit's retooling plan . . . Al Thornton of Florida State and Corey Brewer of Florida are confirmed for pre-draft workouts with the Celtics Thursday. Other players may come in that day or Friday as schedules are worked out. The Celtics have the fifth pick in the June 28 draft.