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Talk at NBA Meeting Centers on Warriors

United Press International

The Golden State Warriors may have been one of the two worst teams in the NBA last season, but they proved to be a front-runner in the rumor mill at the opening day of the league’s annual meeting.

Speculation centered around two issues involving the Warriors. The first was the revelation that the NBA had added to its agenda a discussion of a refinancing plan put forth by beleaguered Golden State owner Franklin Mieuli.

The Warriors’ owner brushed aside any question as to whether he is selling the team.

“This happens every meeting, somebody refinancing his club,” Mieuli said. “It’ll be passed by a voice vote.”

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NBA Commissioner David Stern said the issue was rather routine.

“Any time there’s a refinancing of a team, it must come up for approval,” he said. “That approval is routinely given.”

Mieuli decline to say where the new money was coming from. However, two names--former Milwaukee Bucks owner Jim Fitzgerald and former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Nick Mileti--have been rumored.

The second source of speculation dealt with the team’s former center Joe Barry Carroll. The 1980 top draft choice turned down an offer from the Warriors last season and played in Italy, where he averaged 24.9 points and 11.1 rebounds a contest while leading Simac of Milan to a national title.

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This year, Carroll once again is a free agent and has received an offer reportedly between $1.5-$2 million a season by the Milwaukee Bucks. Golden State must decide whether to match that offer.

The Warriors and Bucks are believed to be holding talks on just what compensation would be given in return for Carroll if Milwaukee signs him. However, Golden State General Manager Al Attles said any decision on Carroll’s future rests with Mieuli.

The NBA’s newest media and fan grabbing gimmick, the draft lottery, has received a vote of confidence from the league’s Competition and Rules Committee.

The body, headed by Phoenix Suns General Manager Jerry Colangelo, has recommended to Commissioner David Stern that the league continue the lottery concept for the top selection in the annual draft.

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However, the committee also suggested that the field be cut down from the present number of seven teams to no more than four. That way, the committee said, the worst team will be assured of a high draft pick.

This year, the Warriors finished tied with Indiana for the worst record in the NBA, but was left with the seventh choice as determined by the lottery.

Among the committee’s other suggestions was to shorten the backboard by six inches and redesign the technical foul rule on illegal defenses.


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