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The NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to provide up to $3 million per year of financial assistance to low-revenue teams.

Between five and eight teams are expected to qualify for the payments, which will come from a special account the league has been accumulating for four years.

"We've been leaving it there for what we'd call a rainy day, and it's just begun drizzling," commissioner David Stern said.

The fund, which has grown to about $50 million, came from market extension fees -- money paid into a central fund by teams that broadcast their games beyond a 75-mile radius.

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