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jayC
02-08-2003, 03:10 PM
Players, league agree to best-of-7 first round

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By Chad Ford
ESPN Insider


ATLANTA -- The NBA Players' Association ended an ongoing feud with the NBA on Saturday. But both sides may be on the verge of an even bigger war in the coming months.

Two league sources told ESPN.com on Saturday that the union had agreed to expand the first round of the playoffs to a best-of-7 format. Until this season, the first round of the NBA playoffs had been a best-of-5 format. The changes are expected to go into effect this season.

The move was called "unprecedented" by one union member who wished to go unnamed. "After years of fighting, we're finally talking to the league again," he said. "I think it's a big step in the right direction."

The league is expected to make the official announcement tonight at a 6:40 p.m. news conference in Atlanta.

The league gave up several concessions to the players in return. First, training camps will be shortened over the next few years. This fall, camps will be three days shorter. Next fall, an additional five days will be cut from the training camp schedule.

The league also agreed to increase the amount players are paid for the playoffs. This year the pool will increase from $8 million dollars to $8.75 million. Next year, the pool will increase to $8.875 million. In 2005, the pool will go up to $9 million.

In other news, the NBPA made a decision to support Yugoslavian big man Darko Milicic and Greek power forward Sofaklis Schortsianides in their bid to get into the 2003 NBA draft.

The NBA determined this summer that Milicic and Schortsianides, both 17-years old, are ineligible to declare for this year's draft.

At issue is an arcane section of the collective bargaining agreement that puts a limit on when international players are eligible to be drafted.

Article X, Section 6(c) reads, in part: "... A foreign player who is at least eighteen (18) years old and who has not exercised intercollegiate basketball eligibility in the United States shall become eligible to be selected in an NBA draft held prior to the calendar year in which he has his twenty-second (22nd) birthday if he expresses his desire to become eligible to be selected in the next NBA draft by written notice to the NBA at least forty-five (45) days prior to such draft."

Both international big men turn 18 before draft night, but the NBA has interpreted the language in the collective bargaining agreement to mean that an international player must be 18 when he officially declares for the draft. The deadline for declaring for the draft this year is May 12. Milicic turns 18 on June 20. Schortsianides turns 18 on June 22.

The issue, for both sides, is charged with symbolism. David Stern has been railing on the NBPA for years to adopt an age limit that would keep anyone under the age of 20 out of the draft.

With the NBPA's support, the agents for Milicic and Schortsianides, Marc Cornstein and Marc Fleisher, must decide what to do. If the two sides cannot work something out, the NBPA could file a collective bargaining grievance, or Cornstein and Fleisher could decide to litigate the issue in federal court.

MFFL
02-08-2003, 07:33 PM
<< The changes are expected to go into effect this season.
>>



Wow that's fast. I expected next season at the earliest.

Bayliss
02-08-2003, 07:37 PM
Another Stern conmspiracy?

The changes would help the Lakers tremendously this season.

FlyinGK22
02-08-2003, 07:56 PM
ya i just heard that on all-star saturday night on tnt. charles said that its fine, but the 4v5 and 3v6 matchups is gonna be tough for them.

FlyinGK22
02-08-2003, 08:02 PM
ya and who thought of this? did stern? and ya, this will help the lakers a lot in the playoffs i think