SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

TORONTO MEDIA TAKES SHOT AT NBA EXPANSION GUIDELINES

          The NBA's treatment of expansion teams, the Raptors and
     Grizzlies, and how it differed from the NFL's, is examined
     by the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL and the TORONTO SUN.  The GLOBE
     & MAIL's Neil Campbell notes neither NBA expansion team is
     allowed to have the top pick until '99 nor a full payroll
     until next season.  Campbell writes, "As a result, the
     Grizzlies are awful," and the Raptors are a "bad basketball
     team."  Campbell: "Is there any wonder interest has
     plummeted in Toronto to the point where the team is slashing
     ticket prices?  Is it any wonder Grizzlies attendance is
     down more than 1,000 fans a game?  Is it any wonder the rest
     of Canada simply yawns when the words Raptors and Grizzlies
     are mentioned?  This was a serious miscalculation by the
     National Basketball Association. ... There is no reason the
     NBA can't take note of the remarkable expansion success
     stories in other sports and waive the draft restriction. ...
     It's time to unlock the handcuffs" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
     1/9).  Raptors Exec VP Isiah Thomas, on the rules: "It
     wasn't fair to us.  I would never have agreed to any of that
     stuff" (TORONTO SUN, 1/9).
          WARNING SIGNS? USA TODAY's David DuPree notes NBA
     attendance is down 1.7% from '95.  If the numbers hold, "it
     will be the first time since 1991-92 the league has not had
     an increase in attendance."  DuPree notes attendance
     "usually picks up after New Year's. .... But with so much
     criticism of sloppy play and with so many bad teams this
     season, such an increase might not follow (USA TODAY, 1/9).

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