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League Allows Heat Salary-Cap Exemption

November 05, 2000|From Associated Press

The Miami Heat has been granted a $3.88 million salary-cap exception to acquire a replacement for center Alonzo Mourning, which may allow the team to pursue free-agent forward Joe Smith.

Under NBA rules, the Heat qualified for the medical exception because Mourning is expected to be sidelined all season with a kidney disorder.

The Heat must use the exception by Nov. 26 and will await a ruling by an arbitrator on whether NBA Commissioner David Stern had the authority to void Smith's previous two contracts with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If the arbitrator sides with Stern, Smith probably will leave the Timberwolves. The Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Miami are all interested in Smith.

"We'd be very interested in pursuing that," Heat Coach Pat Riley said Saturday. "We need to fortify our front line."

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Latrell Sprewell has been summoned to the NBA league office in New York on Monday to explain his remarks about the possibility of Sacramento King forward Chris Webber joining the Knicks next summer when he becomes a free agent.

"We want to ask him a few questions, discuss his comments and go from there," league spokesman Brian McIntyre said Saturday.

Sprewell, who has remained close with Webber since their days as teammates in Golden State, has admitted to speaking with Webber about the possibility of joining the Knicks after this season.

League tampering rules prohibit team officials from enticing players who are under contract to another team, but such rules are usually not applied to players.

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Orlando Magic guard Tracy McGrady was suspended for one game and fined $7,500 for shoving Eric Snow of the Philadelphia 76ers in the face during an altercation Friday night in the 76ers' 87-80 victory at Orlando.

Snow, who pushed McGrady in the chest, was fined $2,500 by NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson.

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