ABL TAKES HIT AS MVP MCCRAY SET TO SIGN WITH WNBA
The WNBA announced today that ABL MVP Nikki McCray has jumped leagues and signed with the WNBA. McCray will join a team of 11 WNBA players in Europe this October (WNBA). ABL CEO Gary Cavalli: "The basic reason she left is that the WNBA gives her more promotional exposure." McCray earned $125,000 last year with the ABL (Valerie Lister, USA TODAY, 9/16). In N.Y., Lisa Olson reports that with a "personal services" contract at the WNBA, McCray is "expected to make around" $250,000. Sources tell Olson that McCray will be "optioned out" to one of the WNBA's expansion teams. Olson: "The first bullet has been fired, and it's a killer. ... [The move] could be the opening salvo in what is shaping up to be a bitter war between the two pro leagues" over players. Now that "each league has finished its debut season, the gloves are off" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16). TIP-INS: Cavalli said that while the league lost $4-5M in its inaugural season, it projects losses of up to $1.5M this year and plans to break even by next season. In other ABL news, Fox Sports Net "plans to put microphones on coaches, officials and, possibly, players" for its ABL coverage this season, according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke. Players could be miked on a tape-delayed basis to "avoid embarrassing language" (USA TODAY, 9/16).