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NBA NEWS & NOTES: NEW LOOK FOR SLAM CONTEST
Published January 10, 1996
Following a suggestion by '95 winner Harold Miner, the NBA will make the final round of its All-Star Weekend slam dunk contest a "dunking duel." The first round will remain the same, with contestants getting 90 seconds to get in as many impressive dunks as possible (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/9). PROFILE: Commissioner David Stern was profiled in Sunday's N.Y. TIMES, with comparisons to a "trapeze artist" for his handling of the lockout. Still, small-market teams express concern over the "Larry Bird Exception," which survived the shut- down. Pacers President Donnie Walsh: "There is still no real salary cap ... Teams are going to look for suite deals." Stern, on the future: "I could let go and try something else. I haven't seen a good substitute to this point" (Harvey Araton, N.Y. TIMES, 1/7). THE FIRST $25 MILLION MAN? In Chicago, Sam Smith ponders the off-season, with salary negotiations looming for Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutumbo and Michael Jordan. David Falk, agent to all but Shaq, predicts a new salary structure this summer with some players making above $20M. Falk: "It's (up to me) to set the market with Dikembe, Alonzo and Juwan Howard." If O'Neal gets $20M, Smith asks how Jordan can not be paid at least that --- and maybe $25M. Smith notes one possibility being floated is a $10M "sponsor bonus" to Jordan from Nike as a form of a "salary-cap avoidance compromise" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/8).