Attorneys representing Warriors G Latrell Sprewell
"have notified the NBA that they are considering suing the
league, and the Warriors," for $30M in damages, according to
David Steele of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The suit would "charge
violations of his civil rights and of federal antitrust and
labor laws, and demand that Sprewell not only be returned"
the $6.4M he lost from his 68-game suspension, but that the
Warriors trade him "immediately." As of yesterday, the suit
had not been filed. Sprewell is being represented by
Atlanta-based labor lawyer Robert Thompson, who said that a
suit is "something [Sprewell's] been weighing over time."
Thompson also said that Sprewell is "investigating" whether
the decision of arbitrator John Feerick can be overturned in
court "on a number of grounds." Those include the
"argument" that Sprewell was punished "more harshly because
he is black," that he was punished twice for the same crime,
and that the league and team "engaged in a 'demonization' of
his image and 'conspiracy and restraint of trade' by
depriving him of his livelihood" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).
NBPA NOT INVOLVED: Steele adds that it was "obvious"
that Sprewell's "various representatives and advisers were
not in total agreement with the proposed suit." An NBPA
spokesperson said, "Make this clear: We're not a part of
this action at all." Sprewell's agent, Arn Tellem, could
not be reached for comment (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).
NBA RESPONSE & REAX: In a statement, NBA Exec VP/Chief
Legal Officer Jeffrey Mishkin called Sprewell's proposed
suit "totally absurd" (NBA). TNT's Kenny Smith: "If I'm
Latrell Sprewell, sometimes you gotta just know when to fold
them. I think I would just fold the tent on this. Go ahead
and play basketball. You're reinstated" (TNT, 5/18). P.J.
Carlesimo was on ESPN's "Up Close" and said the team has
"two options" with Sprewell: "Spree's going to be in Golden
State or we're going to be able to do a deal. I think both
of us right now would prefer that we do a deal. And that's
probably the best thing for the team" (ESPN, 5/18).
The NPSL will announce today that it will bring an
expansion team to Broward County, FL, for next season. The
league's 14th team will play in the Broward County Arena and
be owned by Milan Mandaric (Fort Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL,
5/19)....The NBA named Ed T. Rush as its Dir of Officiating,
effective July 1. He replaces Darell Garretson, who will
step down at the end of the season (NBA)....USA TODAY's Hal
Bodley reports that with one additional game caused by
expansion, Saturday's MLB attendance of 583,436 was third-
highest in baseball history (USA TODAY, 5/19)....In
Indianapolis, Bill Koenig reports that CART execs, sponsors
and teams are looking into holding a "marquee event" for the
series: "It appears there is interest in CART in trying to
elevate one of its events to marquee status." Koenig writes
that both CA races, the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach and
the CART 500 in Fontana, are "contenders" (STAR-NEWS, 5/19).