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Hunter Denies Deal on Age

March 12, 2003|From Associated Press

The director of the NBA players' union vehemently denied Tuesday having any kind of a handshake agreement with the league commissioner to set an age limit of 20 in the next collective bargaining agreement.

"There have been no deals struck between David [Stern] and myself, and there has been no discussion of an age limit between David and myself," union director Billy Hunter said Tuesday.

Stern and deputy commissioner Russ Granik of the NBA confirmed Hunter's assessment, noting that a proposed age limit hasn't been up for discussion in two years.

The rumor is so prevalent, however, that Hunter felt compelled to publicly address the belief an age limit could be in place for the 2004 draft -- a misconception that could lead to a larger-than-normal number of high school players and 17- and 18-year-old foreigners making themselves eligible for the 2003 NBA draft.

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Portland forward Bonzi Wells was suspended for one game by Coach Maurice Cheeks for "conduct considered detrimental to the team."

Wells, also suspended twice by the NBA this season, was banished for Tuesday night's game against the SuperSonics in Seattle. Cheeks said the suspension stemmed from "a basketball matter" and "an isolated incident" that occurred during practice Monday.

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Detroit signed forward Clifford Robinson to a contract extension through the 2004-05 season.

The guaranteed $9-million deal includes a team option for a third year worth about $5 million, a source within the league said.

Robinson, 36, is averaging 12.5 points and four rebounds for the Pistons.

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