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Volume 24 No. 114
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NBA Franchise Notes: League Reportedly Fines Three Teams For Tampering

USA TODAY’s Amick & Zillgitt cite an internal NBA memo as showing that three teams “have been fined for tampering.” A source said that one of the teams is the Hawks. The Hawks in a statement said, "We fully understand and respect the NBA's decision" (USA TODAY, 6/11). In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore reports the Hawks yesterday were “fined an undisclosed amount” for tampering. The league would “only acknowledge that three teams violated the policy.” Sources said that the Hawks were “one of those teams.” The Rockets reportedly were “another in violation.” The Hawks infraction comes after letters in March “were sent to prospective ticket buyers that mentioned Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.” The likely violations “began as early as March 1 when the representative sent a letter via e-mail” with the subject line “Dwight Howard to Atlanta” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/11).

GETTING CHEEKY: In Detroit, Vincent Goodwill notes new Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks “will be introduced later this week as the 29th head coach in franchise history.” A source said that his contract is “for three years with a team option for a fourth.” Cheeks’ hiring “was a consensus" from team President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars and Owner Tom Gores "after a two-month search” (DETROIT NEWS, 6/11). Also in Detroit, Vince Ellis notes “crowds are sparse and the coaching search failed to create local buzz.” The hire “probably won’t create excitement as the fan base was looking for a sexier name” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/11). The FREE PRESS’ Drew Sharp writes, “There’s nothing about Cheeks that excites. There’s nothing about Cheeks that irritates. There’s nothing about Cheeks that draws even a casual shrug” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/11).

BEAR TRAP: In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, whose expiring contract was not renewed, was the “man to restore credibility to the franchise.” Although there was “nothing surprising” about yesterday’s announcement, it was “stunning, still.” But nothing suggests that Hollins “didn’t have a role in his own departure,” as he “very plainly did.” He “publicly criticized management during the season.” If Hollins had “expressed the slightest interest in having a constructive, working relationship” with team CEO & Managing Partner Jason Levien, he “would still be the Grizzlies coach today.” Most Memphians “don’t give a flip about the Grizzlies’ side of this” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 6/11).

CHANGING OF THE GUARD: In Denver, Christopher Dempsey wrote retaining Nuggets VP/Basketball Operations Pete D'Alessandro “would give president Josh Kroenke's Nuggets the status quo he's looking for while at the same time seeking a different direction on the court.” Going forward “is as important as staying the same.” But that plan is "under serious threat” by the Kings, who "will talk with" D'Alessandro about filling their GM job. The “last thing the Nuggets want is another bidding war for one of their front-office staffers.” But if D’Alessandro leaves, then it “becomes much harder for Kroenke to keep things running the way they are now” (, 6/10).