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NBA to Come Down Hard on Flagrant Fouls : Pro basketball: Penalties to increase and coaches might be suspended for repeated violations.


PALM DESERT — The NBA will increase penalties for flagrant fouls and might suspend coaches of teams with repeated violations.

"There was some consideration given to that," said Rod Thorn, chairman of the competition committee.

"At some point, the team has to be held to account if there are too many fragrant fouls. Because the coach is the leader of the team, he should be accountable."

The committee is considering a point system. A flagrant foul would be one point, a foul plus ejection would be two. When a player accumulated five, he would be suspended.

The committee also decided to re-weight the lottery, but took no action.

"We just voted to vote again," said Ernie Grunfeld, the New York Knicks' general manager.

The league will bring in a consulting firm to report on options. The idea is to keep the lottery, but to make it less likely that the team with the best record can win, as Orlando did last spring for the second time in a row.


In the aftermath of the decisions by a court-appointed special master and an arbitrator affirming the Chris Dudley-Portland contract, the salary cap is dead.

"As far as I'm concerned it is," said Milwaukee Coach Mike Dunleavy.

"For a year, until the next collective bargaining agreement."

Dudley's contract is similar to those signed by Chicago's Toni Kukoc and Atlanta free agent Craig Ehlo. All give the players the right to be unrestricted free agents after one season--which will allow the Trail Blazers, Bulls and Hawks to re-sign each player for as much as they want, despite all being over the salary cap.

Dudley rejected a $21-million offer from the Nets for the Trail Blazers' $11 million, claiming he was doing so for lifestyle reasons, insisting he had no side agreement for next season.

The league appealed the decision in federal district court in New Jersey and expects a decision in two weeks.

"We know that players make choices not just on dollars," Commissioner David Stern said. "We understand that.

"We realize that in lifestyle decisions by players, the last dollar is not always as important as a certain lifestyle. But with Dudley, we think we're dealing with the first dollar. . . .

"They say they're happy with the contracts they signed. We'll see if they're still happy with them a year from now."


The NBA, doing what it can for the health of its former stars, scratched the legends' game played on all-star weekend. There will be a rookie game instead.

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