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Inside the NBA | COAST TO COAST

Disciplinary process is a little too touchy

March 11, 2007|Mark Heisler

If the NBA's retroactive suspension process is Looney Tunes, league vice president Stu Jackson is in charge of the entire cartoon division.

However, as inviting a target as he is with his stuffy crime-report language ("driving his arm back in an aggressive manner"), he doesn't run the studio.

Commissioner David Stern, who eliminated actual violence (players can now be suspended for air jabs), has let it become a prissy, self-defeating system that brands players for offenses ... that didn't offend anyone.

With the post-Auburn-Hills-riot ultra-sensitivity, the old practice of checking out complaints has become a formal review, including poring over every play, with or without complaints.

Nothing was called and neither Manu Ginobili nor Marko Jaric complained after Bryant's flailing arm hit them. Nevertheless, Bryant, who's back to being one of the NBA's golden boys, has been suspended more than Rasheed Wallace.

Jackson's predecessor, Nets President Rod Thorn, had a folksy common-sense style. Jackson is more like the Queen's servants in "Alice in Wonderland," after she says, "Off with their heads!"

Oops

The Kings, who seemed to have nothing to lose when they acquired Ron Artest last season, are realizing why he was available after calls to 911 from his home culminated in a domestic violence arrest.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets, who eclipsed the Broncos in Denver when they got Allen Iverson, are 15-22 since he arrived and the honeymoon is definitely over.

"Tracy McGrady gets it," Coach George Karl told the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla last week after Carmelo Anthony missed 17 of 28 shots with one assist in a home loss to Houston. "And right now what you're saying is basically, 'When is Melo going to get it?' "

They think they have problems

Sure enough, Houston's Yao Ming isn't happy about talk that the Rockets were better without him. Said Coach Jeff Van Gundy: "Yao would be best served, I think, to not overthink right now. We clearly have a better chance of being good when he's here." ... The Suns' Amare Stoudemire now trails only Wallace with 14 technicals. Said Coach Mike D'Antoni: "We talked to him about it and we said, 'You can't do it anymore,' and then he goes out and gets two. We did all we can do. You'll have to talk to him about it." ...

General Manager John Paxson, on former Bull Tyson Chandler, No. 2 in rebounding to replacement Ben Wallace's No. 9: "A lot of guys, it's the second or third place they go where they blossom. I told him that the day we moved him. I'm happy for him. It's part of the business. If people want to just look at numbers, so be it." ... Coach Scott Skiles after Miami beat the Bulls by 33: "That was a message, loud and clear. They came to play. We didn't." ... Or maybe the message was, "We're not good enough." Said Shaquille O'Neal, noting the Bulls' romp in Miami's season opener: "We owed this team."

Famous last words

Dallas guard Jason Terry after kissing a woman he ran into while diving into the crowd: "They tried to get me to kiss her husband too, but that wasn't happening."

-- Mark Heisler

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