COLANGELO TALKS OF RULES CHANGES; WELTS ADDRESSES THE SEASON
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).