WASHINGTON (AP) — All-Star point guard John Wall and the Washington Wizards have agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension that will start with the 2019 season, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Friday night.
The people confirmed the terms of the agreement to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Wizards have not officially announced the deal.
The extension includes a player option for the final season in 2023, and a 15 percent trade kicker, according to one of the people.
“Re-signed with the Wizards, man. Signed my extension. You know where I want to be. I love being in D.C. I love the organization. Love my teammates. Love the amazing fans,” Wall said in a video posted on Twitter. “Just had to think it out with my family and friends and made the decision.”
“Definitely going to bring y’all that championship,” Wall added. “That’s my ultimate goal and I ain’t going to stop until I get it.”
He is a four-time Eastern Conference All-Star who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky. He becomes the third player to agree this summer to a designated player “supermax” extension, joining Houston’s James Harden and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
Wall’s deal was first reported by NBA.com.
The expensive extension comes shortly after the Wizards matched a $106.5 million, four-year, max-contract offer forward Otto Porter Jr. signed with the Brooklyn Nets, which temporarily made him Washington’s highest-paid player.
Now Wall will top that.
Wall, 26, and Porter, 24, join shooting guard Bradley Beal, 24, to give the Wizards a young core of talent.
The mechanics for Wall’s extension are new to the NBA in the latest version of the collective bargaining agreement and were put in place to help teams hold on to their star players. A player has to reach certain parameters to qualify, including making an All-NBA team the prior season. A player can also become eligible by making All-NBA in two of the prior three seasons or being named MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.
Wall was a member of the All-NBA third team last season, averaging 23.1 points, 10.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He led the Wizards to a 49-33 record under new coach Scott Brooks during the regular season. Washington’s playoff run ended with a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round.
If Wall played next season and did not make one of the three All-NBA teams, he could have lost his chance for the megadeal.
Fendrich reported from Washington, Krawczynski from Minneapolis.
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — It would be a first for a U.S. national park: requiring reservations to get in. But it’s an option that Zion National Park is considering to manage an overwhelming surge of visitors to its sweeping red-rock vistas and canyons in Utah.
Zion, which welcomed 4.3 million people last year, is weighing online reservations for those who want to explore its main canyon. National Park Service rangers struggle to cope with overcrowded tour buses and alleviate damage to Zion’s natural wonders, including soil erosion and human waste near trails.
People without reservations could pay an entrance fee and drive through the park, but they couldn’t stop to hike or picnic.
“We have to do something,” said park spokesman John Marciano. With limited budgets, Zion’s Park Service rangers routinely see long lines and plants trampled by visitors who also have cut some 30 miles of their own trails.
Zion isn’t the only U.S. national park with swelling numbers of tourists, and at least two national parks, in California and Hawaii, are testing more limited reservation systems for parking.
Overall, more than 330 million people visited U.S. national parks in 2016, a record. Visits were bolstered by the improving economy, cheap gas and marketing campaigns for the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial.
Zion is the fifth-most-visited park in the national park system. It’s particularly susceptible to overcrowding because many of its iconic cliffs and trails are located in the narrow, 6-mile-long (10-kilometer-long) Zion Canyon. The park already urges visitors to take a shuttle between March and November.
After a series of public meetings, Zion rangers are proposing an online reservation system, similar to the way campsites are reserved now. While certain hikes and activities require permits or reservations, the new system would apply to the entire main corridor of the park.
The number of reservations would be based on capacity, would vary by season, and could fall somewhere between a manageable 10,000 people a day and an overpowering 30,000 people a day, Marciano said.
One option would require a single reservation to enter and explore the park. A second would allow tourists to enter the park at a specific time and visit specific trails, like Angel’s Landing, a popular narrow cliff walk.
A third option would be to make no changes. But the park says that would allow continued degradation of the environment and the hours-long lines.
Public comment on the plan runs through Aug. 14. It could take at least two years before officials begin phasing in a reservation system.
Making reservations to visit a public park could be frustrating, especially if tourists who travel across the country or from abroad to see Zion’s spectacular vistas find themselves shut out if their plans change and they miss their time slot, said Darren Shipley, a video producer from Nashville, Tennessee, who’s visited Zion.
“I think there needs to be some flexibility,” Shipley said.
Initially, the idea could discourage visits but would ultimately keep traffic manageable, said Roxie Sherwin, director of tourism for southern Utah’s Washington County, which includes most of Zion.
“When people are vacationing, they make reservations so I don’t see that as a big deterrent,” Sherman said. Her office has suggested that tourists visit attractions beyond Zion’s main canyon as the park started getting crowded.
A few other national parks are trying out similar plans to manage car traffic.
Haleakala National Park in Hawaii started requiring reservations in February drive up to Maui’s tallest peak to see the sunrise. Officials said vehicles spilling out of parking lots were a safety hazard and that throngs of tourists were trampling sensitive habitat.
The system, enacted on an emergency basis, has dramatically reduced crowds. Authorities are studying whether to keep it.
In California’s Yosemite National Park, managers are letting people make voluntary parking reservations for prime locations in August. The system is intended to reduce traffic and helping tourists plan their visits.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Wisconsin county is likely violating the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech protection with its requirement that game developers obtain permits for augmented-reality apps like Pokemon Go to be played in parks, a federal judge says.
Wisconsin U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller ruled Thursday that Milwaukee County can’t enforce the ordinance while a lawsuit over it moves forward. Irvine, California-based game developer Candy Lab Inc., which is working on a poker game that would be affected by the county’s ordinance, sued to overturn it.
Milwaukee County passed the permitting requirement in February in response to the large crowds that Pokemon Go attracted last summer to a park along Lake Michigan. Officials said the sudden influx of people left the park trash-ridden and the county had to pay for the cleanup.
The ordinance requires that developers apply for and obtain a permit like any other business or group that wants to host park events. The money is for the park’s upkeep and the permits are supposed to help the county prepare for the volume of people
In the ruling, the judge criticized the ordinance “for its strangeness and lack of sophistication” because it treats game developers “as though they are trying to hold an ‘event’ in a Milwaukee County park.”
“However, this misunderstands the nature of the problem, since Candy Lab’s video game will not be played at a discrete time or location within a park,” Stadtmueller wrote. He suggested a better alternative would be to punish gamers who violate park rules.
Milwaukee County can’t comment on pending litigation, spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said. But the county has argued in court filings that augmented-reality games are not protected speech under the Constitution.
The sponsor of the ordinance, County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, said Friday he’s confident the law will be upheld.
“We’re dealing with a government’s ability to control its own neighborhood,” he said.
The game Candy Lab is developing is called Texas Rope ‘Em, a variation of the poker game Texas Hold ’em. Gamers are directed to different places to pick up cards and build a five-card hand to play against a computer-controlled dealer. Cities the game is being tested in include Milwaukee.
CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has been suspended for the regular-season opener against Baltimore for his role in an altercation at a downtown hotel earlier this year.
Jones had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the January incident, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran. The NFL said Friday that the suspension was for a violation of its personal conduct policy.
Police said Jones kicked and used head-butting as he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel employee. He was arrested outside the hotel, and police video showed him protesting that he hadn’t done anything to deserve it, loudly demanding, “Let me go!” and at times struggling with officers while yelling obscene insults. Video of Jones in the back of a police cruiser at one point showed him telling an officer: “I hope you die tomorrow.”
Jones apologized in court for his behavior and specifically to Cincinnati police Sgt. Jarrod Cotton. His attorneys said he had been receiving treatment, including for anger management.
In exchange for Jones’ plea, Municipal Court Judge Dwane Mallory dismissed misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct at the prosecutor’s request. He sentenced Jones to time already served — two days — on the obstructing official business count. The Hamilton County prosecutor had earlier dismissed a felony count alleging Jones spit on a jail nurse.
In a letter to Jones, the NFL said it considered the “extensive video documentation of the tone, tenor and nature of your interactions with law enforcement at the site of your arrest, during transportation to the jail, and during the booking process. As you acknowledged, your post-arrest words and actions reflected poorly on you and your family, the Cincinnati Bengals football club, and the NFL.”
“While it is our understanding that appropriate apologies have been publicly extended, they do not completely negate your behavior and admission of culpability for the underlying conduct,” the league said.
Jones can appeal the suspension within three days. Otherwise, he will be eligible to return to the active roster on Sept. 11 following the opener against the Ravens. Jones may participate in all preseason practices and games.
Jones was suspended as a Tennessee Titan by the NFL throughout the 2007 season, then was suspended again during the 2008 season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Jones pleaded an equivalent of no contest to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in a 2007 Las Vegas strip club melee. Jones was blamed for instigating violence that led to the shooting by someone else of two club employees, one left paralyzed from the waist down. He was ordered to pay more than $12.4 million in damages.
The Titans made the Atlanta native the sixth overall pick out of West Virginia in the 2005 draft. The Bengals signed him in 2010.
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CANTON, Miss. (AP) — The United Auto Workers faces a strong anti-union campaign from Nissan Motor Co. as it tries to gain a foothold in the union-averse South by organizing workers at the Japanese automaker’s Mississippi plant.
As many as 4,000 workers will vote Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the vehicle assembly plant in Canton, just north of Jackson. The union promises it would help negotiate better working conditions, benefits and wages at the plant. However, managers warn that the UAW will ultimately hurt both the company and the workers.
Union supporters tried to pressure Nissan for years into staying neutral, or at least toning down its anti-union stance. But managers, while saying workers get to decide, are pushing against the UAW. The company is broadcasting anti-union videos inside the plant, and the UAW says supervisors are pulling workers into private meetings to gauge UAW support and persuade workers against unionizing.
The UAW has tried to bolster support among the majority-African American workforce by linking union support to civil rights, but even union supporters admit management’s message is causing some pro-UAW workers to waver.
“People who were for the union are now undecided,” said Shanta Butler, a union supporter.
The stakes are high. The UAW has never organized an entire foreign-owned auto plant in the South, although it did win an election among maintenance technicians at a Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Foreign automakers came South in part to avoid unions, and most benefit from lower labor costs.
Workers at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, rejected the UAW in 1989 and 2001 votes, but this is the first election in Canton. Though unions have struggled to crack southern auto plants owned by foreign companies, unions have prevailed nationwide in 65 percent of elections from October through June, National Labor Relations Board figures show.
The top Nissan executive in Canton appeared in the first video urging rejection of the UAW barely a day after the union announced that it had filed a petition with the labor board to hold the election.
“We know the union will make promises it can’t keep to get you to vote for the UAW,” Marsh said in a recorded video message to workers. “But when you see the UAW’s empty promises for what they really are, and get the complete facts, the choice is clear.”
Anti-union messages from managers aren’t unusual in labor elections, but the pressure can be very uncomfortable for workers.
“It is often very tense,” said Vanderbilt University sociologist Dan Cornfield, who has studied unions. “It’s tense because both sides feel a lot is riding on it for them.”
UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel said the union’s goal is to help wavering union supporters “have enough fortitude” to stick with the union in the face of anti-union messages. Nissan contends the UAW history of strikes and other actions have caused economic losses for workers and automakers; Nissan maintains its workers already have good pay and benefits.
“I’ve never seen a more aggressive campaign,” Casteel said in a phone interview. “I’ve seen a lot as aggressive.”
Casteel called management’s efforts “intimidation,” but Nissan spokeswoman Parul Bajaj rejected that description. Managers have said they’re giving workers the facts about the UAW.
“Nissan respects and values the Canton workforce, and our history reflects that we recognize the employees’ rights to decide for themselves whether or not to have third-party representation,” Bajaj said.
The union hasn’t alleged any new violations of federal labor law. Following earlier UAW allegations, the NLRB charged, among other things, that managers illegally questioned workers and threatened to close the plant if it unionized. That legal case is unresolved.
The 14-year-old plant is where Frontier and Titan pickups, Murano SUVs and NV vans are assembled. Its annual capacity of 450,000 vehicles is about 8 percent of all Nissan vehicles made worldwide last year.
UAW supporters have protested against Nissan’s opposition to the UAW around the world, especially in France. The French government owns nearly 20 percent of the Renault Group, Nissan’s business partner. Carlos Ghosn, Renault Nissan Alliance chairman, told French lawmakers in 2016 that the alliance “has no tradition of not cooperating with unions.”
Casteel said the union may raise Nissan’s opposition with French officials, often much more sympathetic to organized labor than their American counterparts.
It’s unlikely pressure on Mississippi workers will lessen before they vote.
“They always say the same old things and they always do the same old things,” Casteel said. “The reason they do them is because they work.”
Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy . Read his work at https://www.apnews.com/search/Jeff—Amy .
WASHINGTON (AP) — In the world of diplomacy, some things are bound to get lost in translation.
President Donald Trump, who sat next to Japan’s first lady during a dinner at a recent international summit, says Akie Abe can’t muster even a “hello” in English.
In fact, she can handle a basic conversation in English, according to two people who have worked on events with the first lady.
So was something lost in translation, or was there an intentional snub?
In a New York Times interview this week, the president noted that he was seated next to the Argentine and Japanese first ladies at the Group of 20 summit dinner in Hamburg, Germany.
Trump described the wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a “terrific woman, but doesn’t speak English.”
“Like, not ‘hello’,” the president told the newspaper. “So I’m sitting there. There was one interpreter for Japanese, ’cause otherwise it would have been even tougher. But I enjoyed the evening with her, and she’s really a lovely woman, and I enjoyed — the whole thing was good.”
But there’s a hitch: Japan’s first lady apparently knows a lot more than just hello.
The Internet instantly responded, with a YouTube video emerging of Akie Abe delivering a 15-minute keynote address in English at a 2014 Ford Foundation symposium in New York. Video from a 2016 summit in Japan also features Akie seemingly following the conversation and making short comments in English at a spouses’ event.
The implication is that Ake Abe spoke more than enough English to politely chitchat with Trump, but instead chose to hide behind the language barrier.
The two people who have worked with the first lady both said it’s unthinkable to suggest Abe may have been trying to avoid a conversation with Trump. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of evaluating the first lady’s English proficiency. The Japanese prime minister’s office told The Associated Press that Trump’s comments were based on speculation.
The two people who had worked with Akie Abe said she does frequently rely on a translator who almost always accompanies her. And she would hardly be the only Japanese official with functional English to do so.
Many Japanese officials and business leaders who speak fluent English often choose to speak in Japanese and use interpreters at public events in order to avoid misunderstanding, according to Foreign Ministry officials. They could not say if the Japanese first lady has such a policy.
The same holds true for many leaders around the world, who opt to use their native language in official settings.
Putin himself is proficient in English and is often heard correcting his own translators, but he almost never speaks English in public.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also engages in small talk in English, but tends to stick to German in her official remarks.
Putin and Merkel speak to each other privately in a mixture of German and Russian, but use their native languages when the cameras are on.
There are others who make a point of speaking English in public.
Last week in Paris, France’s President Emmanuel Macron answered an American journalist’s question in English, which signaled a departure from French tradition of speaking in mother tongue at official events. Macron also delivered an address to the American people in English after Trump pulled out of the Paris climate change agreement.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko made official remarks in the Oval Office exclusively in English during a June visit. It was his way of reminding Trump: You have a friend in Ukraine, a friend who speaks your language, diplomatically and literally.
Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.