Sunday, February 9, 2003
Playoffs' 1st round to be best-of-seven
The Associated Press
ATLANTA - The first round of the NBA playoffs will switch from best-of-5 to best-of-7 this season under a tentative deal between the players' union and the league, The Associated Press learned Saturday.
The union and a handful of owners reached the agreement in talks during All-Star weekend. The sides also agreed to meet this summer to begin discussing an extension of the collective bargaining agreement that will expire after the 2003-04 or 2004-05 season.
The switch to a best-of-7 format was expected to be announced Saturday night at commissioner David Stern's annual All-Star news conference.
A source within the league with knowledge of the agreement, speaking on condition of anonymity, outlined the terms of the deal to the AP:
The playoff pool, to be divided among players on teams that qualify for the postseason, will rise by $750,000 to $8.75 million this season. It will go to $8.875 million in 2003-04 and $9 million in 2004-05.
Veterans with at least four years of experience will not be required to report for the first three days of training camp next season, and the first five days of training camp in the two subsequent seasons.
Teams will be prohibited from holding two-a-day practices after the 10th day of training camp.
Previous talks between the league and the union failed to produce an agreement on expanding the first round of the playoffs, which have been best-of-5 since 1984.
The change means that all four rounds of the NBA playoffs now will be best-of-7.
The agreement still must be approved by the 29 NBA owners, but that is considered a formality.
Owners also must decide by Dec. 15 whether to exercise an option in the collective bargaining agreement that would extend it through the 2004-05 season.
FROM FOES TO TEAMMATES: One of the fascinating aspects of the All-Star Game is watching players who compete against each other join the same team.
Dallas guard Steve Nash says it's hard to look at the other All-Stars as teammates. Earlier this week, Nash and the Mavericks lost a one-point game to Sacramento, and nearly a month ago, the Kings beat Dallas by 29.
Nash will play with Kings guard Peja Stojakovic in today's All-Star Game.
"It's strange to be on the same team, and usually we're trying to kill each other," Nash said. "But that's why it's fun to change it up, as least for a day."
That was obvious during the West practice Saturday. Kobe Bryant spent time talking with Stojakovic, and Phoenix teammates Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion shared a laugh with Houston center Yao Ming.
MASHBURN'S FIRST TIME: New Orleans forward Jamal Mashburn has averaged nearly 19 points in his 10-year career, but he's making his first All-Star appearance.
A former No. 4 pick, Mashburn played in the 1994 Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend.
"I don't think I was mature enough or ready to make the team when I was a rookie," said Mashburn. "There's a lot that goes into it. You have to be very levelheaded and able to handle all the attention you get.
"At this point in my career, I'm definitely ready for it. I've prepared myself for it."
The All-Star game wasn't the only thing on Mashburn's mind Saturday. Teammate David Wesley was competing in the 3-point shootout later in the day, and Mashburn hoped to have a vested interest.
"We're going to split the money - hopefully, he feels the same way," Mashburn said. "I tried to work with him at practice, but he was kind of reluctant. He didn't want to."
NASH SPEAKS OUT: Dallas' Steve Nash was turned serious when asked about the situation in the Persian Gulf, speaking adamantly against a possible invasion of Iraq.
Nash, from Canada, described his best friend from high school as an "activist." He said they have discussed politics and current events for the past several years.
"I don't believe we should go to war," Nash said.
REDS SPRING TRAINING PREVIEW
Real World Reds? It's a happy home, so far
Outlook by position
Five key questions
Five players who could surprise
Spring training roster
2003 spring training schedule
2003 regular season schedule
OTHER BASEBALL NEWS
Rites of spring: Pitchers and catchers report
NL team previews
AL team previews
Torre, Jeter feeling Steinbrenner's heat
XU: No. 20 Xavier 85, Dayton 77
Daugherty: West simply dominates
UC: Sutton, 66, feels same passion as ever
UK: 'Cats forces Rebels into many misses
MIAMI: Juby coming on strong for MU
No. 5 Louisville 81, Houston 55
Michigan State 67, Indiana 62 (OT)
Top 25 roundup: Gators get back to winning
How the Top 25 fared
No. 12 NKU men hold off Quincy
The agony of the blowout
Referees may sympathize, but they don't intervene
Changing the rules could even the scores
Hard work means more play for former Tiger Younts
Sluggish start doesn't keep St. Henry out of title game
Elliott single-handedly whomps NewCath
Saturday's Ohio boys games |
Girls | Kentucky
Swimming: Keefe, Myers dynamic duo for Ursuline
CovCath, Pandas face little challenge
Wrestling: Moeller takes GCL title
LeBron James saga starting to annoy Roger Bacon
LeBron lights it up with 52 points
LeBron phenomenon raises thorny issues
Innocence Lost: Inside the world of LeBron James
2003 is anybody's race
Earnhardt charges past Gordon for Shootout win
ARCA: Montgomery scores first career win
ARCA driver winning battle against MS
Another weekend at Sterny's
M.J. doesn't want ceremonial starting role
Yao feeling pressure of NBA fame
Love on brink of ending two-year winning drought
13-year-old girl makes cut in men's Hawaii Pearl Open
Avalanche again deny Hull, Red Wings
Blue Jackets could lose top scorers in free agency
Ducks, Crunch in Nationwide tie
Man Among Men marks himself as Derby material
Lumpkins, Doser ride to victory at Turfway
Hughes' Coleman a sharpshooter in college, too
Enquirer Page Two Power rankings