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Report: Stern gets 5-year contract for $27.5-million

NBA commisoner David Stern has been given a $10-million bonus and a yearly salary of $3.5-million, according to a published report. Team owners confirmed Wednesday that the five-year, $27.5-million contract was approved during last week's All-Star break, USA Today reported in Thursday's editions. Stern could not be reached for comment.

The pay raise -- which gives Stern more than 3 1/2 times what any other sports commissioner receives -- follows Stern's recent network and cable television negotiations that boost average payments to clubs from $2.55-million to $8.1-million.

"David is very deserving," said Phoenix Suns president Jerry Colangelo, a member of the league committee that approved Stern's deal. "Stern has done an outstanding job leading our league."

The $27.5-million includes a $10-million bonus, so his annual salary works out to $3.5 million, nearly as much as the New York Knicks' Patrick Ewing earns annually.

The salary increase was approved at last week's All-Star break.

The pay raise follows the recent network and cable television package Stern negotiated with NBC and Ted Turner's TNT. The new deal will allow each NBA team to collect $8.1 million per year. Under the current deal, each team receives $2.55 million.

Stern's salary will cost each club $129,630 per year, or 2.4 percent of the $5.5 million increase the teams are getting from the new television deal.

"He's not only a talented lawyer and administrator, but a marketing genius," said Daniel Finane, president of the Golden State Warriors. "We think he's an exceptional commissioner, a terrific talent, and he should be appropriately paid."

"It's a sign of the times," said Al Bianchi, the Knicks' vice president and general manager. "The players are making a lot of money, so why shouldn't the commissioner and everyone else share in it? He's done a great job."

Around the league

Spurs: Guard Vernon Maxwell, a former University of Florida star, was ordered to stay away from his wife after she filed for divorce, accusing her husband of brutrality and adultery. Resharita Rachelle Maxwell filed court documents Wednesday suing for divorce. Visiting District Judge John F. Dominguez, at Mrs. Maxwell's behest, signed a temporary restraining order prohibiting Maxwell from 27 actions, including threatening his wife, destroying their property or abducting the couple's 3-year-old son or 4-month-old daughter.

Sixers: Charles Barkley doesn't have an NBA championship ring on his finger, but now he has a winning streak ring on his ear. Barkley showed up in the locker room Wednesday wearing a diamond-studded earring on his left ear, similar to those worn by Mike Gminski and Rick Mahorn as a result of a pact among several members of the team to get their ears pierced if they won 10 straight games.

Trail Blazers: Rookie Ramon Ramos, who suffered severe head injuries in an auto accident two months ago, was moved to a rehabilitation center in Portland. "He's not in a coma technically and yet he's not completely aware of his surroundings," a hospital spokeswoman said. "He's showing slow but progressive improvement."

Nuggets: Denver probably will finish out the season without a general manager, with head coach Doug Moe and assistants Allan Bristow and Doug Moe Jr. filling the roles; left vacant by Pete Babcock's resignation. Babcock was named general manager of the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Clippers: Forward Danny Manning is a newlywed. Manning, 23, was married Saturday in a Las Vegas wedding chapel to Julie Lucas of Wellington, according to a newspaper report. Clippers spokesman Bill Kreifeldt attempted to get a statement from Manning about the wedding. "He said "no comment' three times," Kreifeldt said.

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