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Volume 26 No. 51

Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver this morning appeared on ESPN's "Get Up" to discuss a wide range of topics regarding the league. He said the Raptors' first appearance in the NBA Finals "clearly demonstrates what an international sport we are." He said, "We have more players from Canada other than the United States than any other country right now -- I think we have 13 players from Canada." He added the city of Toronto is "very representative of the modern NBA, where 25% of our league is composed of players born outside the United States." Silver: "It's a signal of sorts to a global market." Here are some other highlights of Silver's appearance.

*On the new Draft Lottery system, "I feel it worked. ... You could argue that in terms of teams' incentive to rebuild, they're clearly still there." Silver noted the new system is "going to demonstrate to fans and markets that they should stop rooting for teams to lose," something he called "corrosive."

*On reducing the 82-game regular season: "It's a possibility. There's no doubt it's an economic issue right now. ... One of the things we have to study is, if winning teams are able to rest players at strategic times, you're sending a pretty clear signal to your fans that those games are not that important."

*On top high school prospect R.J. Hampton's decision to play overseas: "I'm a little jealous, because in our G League, we’re trying to create our own professional tract. I haven't talked to him or his advisors, but he decided he was better off in Australia than our G League. So I’m going to talk to Commissioner Shareef (Abdur-Rahim) of the G League and say, ‘What should we be looking at differently?’"

*On top Draft prospects Zion Williamson and Ja Morant potentially heading to two of the league's smaller markets (New Orleans and Memphis): "It's fantastic for the league. The goal is to have a 30-team league where competition is determined based on management and not on market size of the individual wealth of ownership" ("Get Up," ESPN, 5/29).

Lacrosse insiders are convinced that the PLL and MLL cannot survive alongside one another in the long run

Professional lacrosse is "facing an existential crossroads" as the MLL and nascent Premier Lacrosse League "prepare for their first season of coexistence" beginning next month, according to Jacob Bogage of the WASHINGTON POST. Lacrosse insiders are "convinced the two cannot survive long-term side by side." Paul Rabil left MLL in September to form the PLL, and by "promising bigger salaries and a better media rights deal, he recruited a vast contingent of the old league's stars." Players say that they are "tired of waiting for a league to figure out how to distribute its product and tired of asking MLL franchise owners to put money behind branding their players as athletic celebrities worthy of sponsorships and acclaim." The MLL is "still backed by establishment figures confident that a rebranding effort, new leadership and franchise owners' willingness to invest can sustain a strong, centralized league." They have "preached patience in their 19-year-old league and asked the lacrosse community for trust as they attempt a reset." Earlier this year, the MLL "reacquired its media rights and shut down three of nine teams" for the '19 season. When Rabil announced the PLL's first rosters, the "vast majority of the 160 players came from MLL, including 11 of the league's top 12 goal scorers from last year" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/28).