LATRELL GOES TO THE WELL ONE MORE TIME: THREATENS LAWSUIT
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).