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NBA Penalties Against Smith Are Upheld by Arbitrator

November 10, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

An arbitrator upheld the NBA's penalties against Joe Smith, virtually assuring that the forward will leave the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Arbitrator Kenneth Dam ruled Thursday that NBA Commissioner David Stern did not overstep his bounds when he voided Smith's contracts for the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.

Smith, a free agent, now has no financial incentive to stay in Minnesota because the Timberwolves can offer him only a one-year contract for $611,000. Other teams, including the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, can offer Smith a much more lucrative contract.

The Timberwolves signed an illegal secret agreement with Smith, promising him a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract extension that was to begin in the 2001-02 season--after Smith had played three seasons in Minnesota.

Stern penalized the Timberwolves by taking away their next five first-round draft picks and fining the team $3.5 million.

The commissioner also voided Smith's contract for the current season along with his one-year contracts for the previous two seasons, thereby taking away Smith's so-called Larry Bird rights.

Players with Bird rights can re-sign with their team even if the team is over the salary cap. Smith will now have to play three more seasons to re-earn those rights.

Smith's agent, Dan Fegan, has had almost two weeks to negotiate with any of the 29 NBA teams who would be interested in signing Smith, who was the overall No. 1 pick in the 1995 draft.

The Bulls, with about $6 million in salary-cap room, could make Smith the highest offer. The Heat has a $3.92-million salary-cap exception that was granted by the NBA after center Alonzo Mourning was sidelined for the season because of a kidney ailment.

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Point guard Muggsy Bogues of the Toronto Raptors will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today and will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Tennis

Andre Agassi made quick work of Olympic silver medalist Tommy Haas, defeating the German, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Lyon Grand Prix in France.

In other second-round matches, Arnaud Clement of France edged fifth-seeded Franco Squillari of Argentina, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Hicham Arazi of Morocco defeated sixth-seeded Mark Philippoussis of Australia, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

Russians Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov advanced to the quarterfinals of the St. Petersburg Open in Russia, Safin overwhelming Chris Woodruff, 6-3, 6-1, and Kafelnikov defeating Christian Ruud of Norway, 6-1, 7-6 (3).

Citing anemia, Venus Williams pulled out of next week's season-ending Chase Championships in New York. It is the second time in three years that she has pulled out.

Defending champion Lindsay Davenport, seeded second, will play Elena Dementieva of Russia in the first round. Top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland is paired against Julie Halard-Decugis of France.

Fast-rising Kim Clijsters and Olympic doubles bronze medalists Dominique Van Roost and Els Callens head the Belgian team picked to face the United States in the Fed Cup semifinals. The matches start Nov. 22 in Las Vegas.

Davenport, beaten twice this year by Van Roost, and Monica Seles have been picked to play for the U.S. Captain Billie Jean King has until today to choose the remaining players.

Halard-Decugis had a surprisingly easy time defeating eighth-seeded Jennifer Capriati, 6-4, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the Advanta Championships at Villanova, Pa.

Sixth-seeded Anna Kournikova of Russia, still seeking her first singles title, defeated Nicole Pratt of Australia, 6-0, 6-2.

Miscellany

The Loyola Marymount men's basketball team announced the signing of two high school seniors, point guard Charles Brown of De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., and center Andy Osborn of Longmont High in Colorado.

Laura Wilkinson, who overcame a broken foot to win an Olympic gold medal in diving, is planning to have more surgery next week.

Wilkinson competed in the 10-meter platform event at the Sydney Games despite suffering a broken right foot while training in March. She wore a protective shoe during the Olympics.

Former heavyweight champion Tony Tubbs pleaded guilty in Cincinnati to trafficking in cocaine and was sentenced to two months in jail, three years of probation and drug testing.

Tubbs, 41, also was ordered by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Martin to do 300 hours of community service.

Wrestler Alexander Leipold of Germany, stripped of his Olympic gold medal after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid, will contest that decision by the International Olympic Committee.

Leipold's lawyer, Axel Ulmer, told the online newspaper Netzeitung that he also was planning legal action against the International Wrestling Federation. FILA, the world governing for the sport, imposed a two-year ban against Leipold for the use of the performance-enhancing steroid nandrolone.

Picabo Street, an Olympic and World ski champion, probably won't compete in the giant slalom and slalom World Cup races next week in Park City, Utah.

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