SBD/1/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA GETS RESPITE: BULLS CARRY THE TORCH FOR ONE MORE SERIES

          The "breakup" of the Bulls "couldn't come at a worse
     time" for the NBA, according to Samuels & McCormick of
     NEWSWEEK, who write that while the league "may simply be
     reaching the natural end of a phenomenal growth spurt, it
     also faces real questions about keeping its fans when the
     Jordan era ends."  An "implosion" of the league's "most
     popular team is just one signal that the NBA's golden age is
     in peril."  The Bulls, "an unusually integrated team that
     sends off almost no racial vibes, have only enhanced the
     mostly African-American league's tremendous crossover
     appeal.  The gap they'll leave behind is more generational
     than racial."   But the "fears" of a league-wide decline
     "may be overdrawn," as attendance is "strong, and fat TV
     contracts are in place" (NEWSWEEK, 6/11 issue).
          LABOR: In Boston, Peter May quotes an NBA exec "who is
     privy" to negotiations with the union: "Things so far have
     been fine.  There have been proposals exchanged, but there
     hasn't been anything nasty.  You may not see a lockout.  You
     may not see a normal summer, either, but there are ways to
     get around a lockout" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/31).  But agent Bill
     Duffy is quoted as saying, "I just don't think there's any
     question that the lockout is going to go on for a long time.
     ... We may be willing to work with them on the rookie scale,
     but I don't know any agents who are going to accept a rigid
     cap" (Paul Buker, Portland OREGONIAN, 5/31).  In Chicago,
     Sam Smith wrote of "negligible" progress between the sides
     and wrote that the NBA's TV partners "have been told to
     anticipate a long stoppage of play."  He added that one
     proposal floated by the league had players dividing up a sum
     of money "that would almost double the salary cap" to around
     $44M, but that would "preclude paying huge salaries" to some
     stars (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/31).  NBC analyst Isiah Thomas
     told USA TODAY's Roscoe Nance that he would be willing to
     mediate in the labor talks.  Thomas: "I have some solutions
     to some of their problems because I've seen it from both
     sides of the table."  NBA Commissioner David Stern: "Both
     sides can use all the help they can get" (USA TODAY, 6/1).  
          LIGHTENING UP? In Miami, Steve Wyche reported that the
     league's Rules and Competition Committee is scheduled to
     discuss lockout rules Tuesday.  Wyche: "League sources have
     said the NBA is expected to relax some of the bans issued in
     the 1995 lockout against team-player involvement in charity
     games and other interaction" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/31).  

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