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Suns President & CEO Jerry Colangelo said that "there will be some major rules changes put in place" for the '99- 2000 NBA season when the Board of Governors meets this fall, according to Mike Kahn of CBS SportsLine. Colangelo said Saturday that the "rules and competition committee is too unwieldy," as "too many" committee members "have been self- serving because of the way their coach wants to coach or the way the team is made up." Colangelo: "We need to do things to clean up the game" (CBS SportsLine, 5/8). Colangelo said NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Senior VP/Operations Rod Thorn "will put together a committee to address the scoring drought." Colangelo: "This is the time to do it. You're going to see a different game next year, and that's exciting" (AZ REPUBLIC, 5/9). In Boston, Michael Holley wrote that scoring numbers are the "most frightening stat for the basketball present and future" (BOS. GLOBE, 5/9). THE GAME'S THE THING: In Vancouver, Lowell Ullrich wrote under the header, "Still Love This Game?" Ullrich: "It's bad everywhere. Really bad. The teams that began the playoffs Saturday are the best of a bad lot" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/9). In St. Pete, Hubert Mizell wrote that this season, the NBA was "clobbered by a widening gallery of critics, for its questionable artistry and overcooked in- your-face mentality." Mizell: "I worked at not being jaded by the NBA lockout. ... But, over the NBA short haul, I couldn't conjure up much care" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/9). THE WELTS HAS RUN DRY: Departing NBA Exec VP & CMO Rick Welts called the '98-99 lockout-shortened season "the most difficult year" the league has ever been through, and added that "there was a lot of residual damage" from the lockout. Welts, on CBA negotiating: "We had a real resolve that if we get it right, we'll have an extended period of growth. If we got it wrong, it will take a long time to get it back." In Seattle, Art Thiel writes that the NBA "did get it right," in that it "crushed the union and the agents" by "winning a hard salary cap and rookie salary scale." Welts: "There was a lot of residual damage. It's like any other consumer-product business -- it can take years and years to come back. But we tried to learn from other sports about how to recover" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 5/10). HUNTED BECOMES HUNTER: NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter "sent an end-of-the-season mailing" to the union which "seems to dispel the notion that the union was pummelled during the contentious labor negotiations." The average salary increased from $2.3M to $2.8M, while median salary increased from $1.4M to $1.7M. Also increasing was the number of players who made between $1-2M, from 74 in '98 to 112 in '99 (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). Charles Barkley: "We used to be overpaid and underworked. Now, this season, we're overworked and underpaid." ESPN's Mark Schwartz: "Underpaid?" Barkley: "Oh yeah. The way they worked us this season, we're underpaid" ("SportsCenter," 5/9).
IRL team owners and drivers who competed in the canceled VisionAire 500 on May 1 "will receive compensation to cover their expenses," according to Jeff Wolf of the Las Vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL. The IRL said that 28 owners would receive $17,500 per entry and the 28 drivers would be paid $2,500. The $560,000 will come from the contract between Lowe's Motor Speedway and the IRL. Team entry fees of $5,000 will be also be refunded (REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/8).
Royals Chair & CEO David Glass dispelled "rumors" he and Expos President Claude Brochu were involved in a "heated verbal exchange with some large-market owners" during a recent meeting on revenue sharing. Glass: "It's kind of hard to shout at someone when you're not there. I heard about the exchange. But I wasn't involved" (K.C. STAR, 5/9)....In NJ, John Rowe wrote that MLB is "negotiating to open the 2000 season in Japan." The "buzz in several circles" is that the Yankees, Angels and Padres are "interested," while the Mariners "reportedly have been selected for the three games" (Bergen RECORD, 5/9)....In N.Y., George Vecsey wrote that MLB officials "show no capacity for approaching" the economic disparity problem "with any serious revenue-sharing" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/9). LPGA: The LPGA Mercury Titleholders Championship was "suspended" three times yesterday due to "dangerous weather conditions," finally "for good" at 7:26pm ET, though the leaders were still on the course "because of the Tour's deal with CBS to broadcast the tournament." LPGA Dir of Tournament Operations Barb Trammell: "The request was made to play earlier [on Sunday] and work out some sort of tape- delay arrangement with CBS. We pursued it, but CBS said no" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/10)....LPGA Tour player Nancy Lopez said that women's golf would be "just as popular as the men's if it were on TV every weekend." Lopez: "They say our ratings aren't very good, but it's pretty hard to get good ratings if you are only on TV every once in a while." In Ft. Lauderdale, Randall Mell wrote that what the LPGA "lacks is personality, charisma, star-quality" (SUN-SENTINEL, 5/9). LPGA Tour player Karrie Webb, on the Tour's "lack of personality": "It's not my responsibility to promote the Tour. I think we have to stop wishing for another Nancy Lopez. If she comes along, great" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/10). ...Natalie Williams and Crystal Robinson, listed in THE DAILY's chart of the WNBA's first round picks on Thursday, are represented by Fred Schreyer and Intersport Management, two of seven WNBA players repped by the IL-based agency.