Ballparks might still be full if baseball players thought as little of money as new Phoenix Suns forward Danny Manning.
Manning told Suns president Jerry Colangelo he was willing to play for whatever the Suns could afford. Then he stuck by his word, signing a one-year, $1 million contract that was announced Thursday.Manning made $3.5 million last season and could have commanded up to $5 million a year from other teams, Colangelo said. He said seeing a player turn his back on such riches was refreshing and possibly trend-setting.
"Wayman Tisdale said to me, `I've only played in four playoff games in my career.' Four games. And he wants to be with a winner. He had one national television expsoure last year on TNT," Colangelo said.
Tisdale, who played with the Sacramento Kings last season, has looked at houses in Phoenix and might sign another below-market-value contract next week.
In the Suns, the game's stars see a glamor team that has won 53 or more games for six consecutive years, went to the NBA Finals in 1993, and will be on national TV 21 times this season.
"Danny Manning is one of those players who has done well financially, and he's saved well, and that's why he's in a position to take the risk he's taking," Colangelo said.
Manning did not attend the news conference. The No. 1 draft pick in the nation in 1988 after leading Kansas to the NCAA championship, Manning was in New York on Thursday and was expected at a Charles Barkley golf tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Ron Grinker, his agent, did not return a message left on an answering machine.
Colangelo acknowledged complaints from other teams, who have seen players like Charles Barkley and A.C. Green use unrestricted free agency to single out the Suns. He said competitors should study Phoenix' formula.
"We're the 19th market in the country, competing with the big cities," Colangelo went on. "We've always had to fight that over the years, and we're now at the point where we can compete with anyone."