NBA player payroll slashed due to pandemic
UNDATED (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a bite out of NBA salaries.
NBA players will see 25% of their paychecks taken out starting May 15 in an agreement with the league. The decision was finalized today in a board of governors meeting and was done in concert with the National Basketball Players Association.
The cutback in salary has been expected for some time in response to the NBA’s shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA playoffs would have started Saturday. If none of the 259 outstanding regular season games are played, the players would lose about $800 million in gross salary.
Commissioner Adam Silver said it remains impossible for the NBA to make any decisions about whether to resume this season and that it is unclear when that will change.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The NFL will hold a practice remote draft on Monday, three days before the real thing is done in the same way. Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered all team facilities closed in March, and later required club personnel to conduct the draft from their homes. Because of the reliance on free-flowing communication, the league decided to stage a mock draft to ensure that the proceedings next week would go smoothly.
— NASCAR has postponed the May 9 race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia with the state under a stay-at-home order until June 10. It gave no indication when the season will resume. NASCAR suspended its season four events into the year when sports shut down because of the pandemic. It had listed Martinsville as its first race to resume.
— Nippon Professional Baseball’s season openers will not take place in May due to the new coronavirus pandemic, with no firm date set for the start. Representatives of the 12 teams decided Friday to also scrap interleague play. The removal of 18 interleague games from each team’s calendar would make for a 125-game regular season.
— English Premier League clubs discussed the coronavirus testing required and scenarios that could salvage the season. The league hopes to restart on June 8, presenting an optimistically tight timeframe for players to return to game shape if social distancing is relaxed. Clubs in the three professional leagues below the Premier League have been told by the English Football League that May 16 is the earliest training sessions are recommended to start.
— The Senior LPGA Championship has been canceled. It was scheduled to be played July 30-Aug. 1 at French Lick Resort in Indiana. The USGA previously canceled the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. The Senior LPGA will stay at French Lick in 2021. The new dates will be determined later.
— Major League Soccer says it is pushing back restarting the season to at least June 8. Teams had played two matches before the season was suspended on March 12 because of the pandemic. The league had been looking at possibly resuming play in mid-May.
— The governing body of track and field is leading a panel of Olympic sports to advise on safely organizing mass gathering events amid the coronavirus. World Athletics says the Outbreak Prevention Taskforce includes the International Institute for Race Medicine and officials from cycling, rowing, skiing, triathlon and the International Paralympic Committee.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-NBA DRAFT
SDSU’s Flynn, UNC’s Anthony turning pro
UNDATED (AP) — Two of college basketball’s young stars have announced they are entering the NBA draft before completing their eligibility.
The list of draftable players now includes consensus All-American and Mountain West Conference Player of the year Malachi Flynn, who will forego his senior season at San Diego State. Flynn became the most decorated player in Aztecs history in his one season at SDSU after transferring from Washington State and sitting out a year. Flynn averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds this season as the sixth-ranked Aztecs went 30-2.
Cole Anthony is entering the NBA draft after just one season at North Carolina. He had been considered a likely one-and-done player and a high first-round draft prospect before his arrival in Chapel Hill. The son of former NBA player Greg Anthony set an ACC freshman record by scoring 34 points in his conference debut and finished the season averaging a team-high 18.5 points for the Tar Heels.
Jets, Byfuglien split
UNDATED (AP) — The Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Byfuglien (BUHF'-lihn) have agreed to mutually terminate the veteran defenseman's contract after a lengthy dispute, potentially marking the end of his hockey-playing career.
No financial settlement was part of the agreement, meaning Byfuglien walked away from the $14 million remaining on his contract for this season and next. Winnipeg general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said a conversation in September led him to believe Byfuglien was healthy but "had lost his desire to play in the National Hockey League.”
The Jets suspended the 35-year-old for not reporting to training camp. They received a call from his agent in October that he was considering a return. Byfuglien underwent ankle surgery in October and rehabbed into the winter.
Byfuglien filed a grievance through the NHL Players' Association believing he should be paid while recovering from ankle surgery.
Also in the NHL:
— The Blue Jackets have signed All-Star goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (YOH’-nuhs kohr-pih-SAH’-loh) to a two-year contract worth a reported $5.6 million. The Finnish-born netminder has a 19-12-5 record, 2.60 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and two shutouts in 37 appearances this season. Korpisalo has established career highs in games played, wins and goals-against average since taking over as the starter when Sergei Bobrovsky (boh-BRAHF’-skee) left via free agency last summer.
Ionescu goes to Liberty with top pick
NEW YORK (AP) — Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 pick in Friday’s WNBA draft, going to the New York Liberty in an Oregon sweep of the top two picks. Ionescu set the NCAA record for triple-doubles and was the first college player to have over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career
The WNBA draft went about as well as the Dallas Wings could have hoped after pushing toward the night for so long. The Wings had three of the top seven picks Friday. Dallas picked Oregon 6-foot-4 forward Satou Sabally second overall. Princeton guard and three-time Ivy League player of the year Bella Alarie was taken by the Wings with the fifth pick. They got 5-10 South Carolina point guard Tyasha Harris at No. 7.
Lauren Cox went third to Indiana and Chennedy Carter was the fourth selection by Atlanta.
Due to the pandemic, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced selections from her home in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the player being chosen.
NWSL had momentum heading into now suspended season
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The National Women's Soccer League was set to open its eighth season this weekend with plenty of momentum behind it courtesy of an enthusiastic new commissioner in Lisa Baird and a new TV deal with CBS.
The league was also riding a surge in attention following the United States' victory in the Women's World Cup last summer. The national team's players are scattered throughout the NWSL, with U.S. Soccer paying their salaries.
The league averaged 7,337 in attendance last season, a 21.8% increase over 2018 — the so-called ``World Cup Bump"
But like other leagues, it's now on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Among those who have been sidelined are the Portland Thorns' Morgan Weaver, the surprise No. 2 draft pick this year. Weaver got in just about a week of training camp before the NWSL was suspended.
GOLF HALL OF FAME-HOLLINS
Marion Hollins elected to 2021 class of Golf HOF
UNDATED (AP) — Marion Hollins has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
She was elected through the contributor’s category, joining a 2021 class that so far includes Tiger Woods.
Hollins was a visionary in golf course architecture. She financed and developed a club only for women in New York in the early 1920s. And she was the brains behind Cypress Point Club and Pasatiempo in California.
Hollins died in 1944 when she was 51.
The induction is planned for March in Florida.
Horse racing gets more TV time with other sports on hold
UNDATED (AP) — Socially distanced crews in New York and California are keeping horse racing on television in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. Horse racing is one of the few sports ongoing, albeit in a limited capacity at a handful of empty tracks. But its TV presence has expanded because of the dearth of other options.
The New York Racing Association helps produce “America’s Day at the Races” on Fox Sports. TVG has partnered with NBC Sports for a dozen hours of coverage each week and the hope is that the fledgling industry can stay afloat and gain more exposure during these trying times.
Live racing at Aqueduct Park in Queens was suspended in mid-March after a backstretch worker tested positive for the coronavirus. Groom Martin Zapata, 63, died in early April from COVID-19 complications.