Forget about the upcoming NBA draft. The real sweepstakes is for the services of disgraced broadcaster Marv Albert, who was fired by NBC and forced to resign from Madison Square Garden Network, for which he called Knicks games.

The latest tickle comes from Turner Sports president Harvey Schiller."Marv is certainly a talent," Schiller told the New York Times. "And I think it remains to be seen about his return."

Redemption is a good thing, especially for those who express remorse and ask for forgiveness. But Albert did neither of those things.

Oh sure, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault last September after a woman accused him of sexually attacking her. His subsequent half-hearted apologies in national television interviews, however, were disingenuous.

Lest we forget, Albert appeared on ABC with his fiancee and told Barbara Walters that the bites on Vanessa Perhach's back were only hickeys; that she, in fact, had asked him to bite her; that he doesn't like rough sex, wear women's underwear, or have a toupee (it's a hair weave); that he knew a transvestite and prostitute who later turned out to be not only a dominatrix but also dead.

So much for his act of contrition.

He didn't tell his side of the story in court, when it counted. He told us before the trial that he was innocent. He told us after the trial that he was innocent. The only time he didn't mention the word was in the Virginia courthouse, where he pleaded guilty.

"When you pleaded guilty to the charges of assault and battery," Walters said to him, "the judge asked you, `Are you pleading guilty because you are in fact guilty of this crime?' And you answered, `Yes.' Now you are saying you are not guilty."

"No," Albert answered.

"Of these crimes," Walters pressed.

"No, I'm saying I am guilty of, of the misdemeanor, and that according to Vanessa Perhach's testimony - she said that she was harmed by the bites," Albert said. "And if that is the case, I'm sorry and I'm guilty."

"I'm asking you if you committed perjury when you said you were . . ."

"No, no."

"... guilty."

"I did not commit - I don't feel I committed perjury," Albert said.

Whatever, Marv.

Everyone wants to forget about the entire sordid affair. But Albert and his old-boy network just won't let us.

Just last week, Albert rumors surfaced in Miami, where he reportedly was in line to get a job calling Heat games. Heat coach and longtime buddy Pat Riley put a stop to that talk, and the team stuck with play-by-play commentator Eric Reid.

Pretty soon, Albert will get a job; his pipes are that good.

But as it is now, television executives are talking loudly about Albert's talents but paying nothing. Some talent just isn't worth touching.


HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," delivers another splendid report on the baseball stadium deal in Phoenix. Reporter Armen Keteyian probes the $250 million contribution made by county taxpayers through a sales tax resolution that was never voted. Bank One Ballpark features a swimming pool beyond the right-field fence and seats 48,500 for Diamondbacks games.