|Thursday, October 26
Updated: October 28, 11:35 PM ET
Stern ruling cheered, jeered by fans
ESPN.com received hundreds of e-mails regarding NBA commissioner David Stern's Wednesday ruling on the Minnesota Timberwolves' salary cap violations involving forward Joe Smith. Stern ruled that the Timberwolves will lose first-round draft picks for five years, pay a $3.5 million fine and face losing Smith, whose deal with the team was voided. Team owner Glen Taylor, general manager Kevin McHale and Eric Fleisher, Smith's former agent, could face additional penalties. Here are a few of the better responses we got from ESPN.com users:
I hope Kevin McHale gets what he deserves!!!! Cheap on the court and a crook in the office.
Salary caps are a joke. Avid sports fans don't understand them. Stern and the league need to be consistent. Would the league impose the same penalty on the Lakers, or the Knicks? How about the Jordan-era Bulls? How can the current Lakers be under the cap anyways? How about the year MJ (Michael Jordan) made $33 mil? Go ahead, Dave pick on a team that never goes anywhere in the playoffs, and is 300 miles from nowhere.
Mr. Stern best not show up in Minneapolis for a game. You think they throw beer at the end of a Tyson fight? The keg might be flying in his direction. From what I'm hearing on the talk shows up here people are not happy given what has taken place the last two days. With the Wild selling out in St Paul and the Vikings going unbeaten, the NBA just put the T-Wolves on page 3 for the next few years.
I understand the NBA needs to punish a team for breaking a rule but this goes too far. This franchise, once a doormat of the Midwest Division, is now being sent a death sentence. They officially become the SMU of the NBA. Draft picks are the life blood of a small market team. David Stern needed to firm but not outrageous.
Maybe the Timberwolves should hire Mike Ditka as their GM. He doesn't seem to value draft picks.
Here's my theory. Kevin McHale must have really ragged on David Stern's HORRIBLE lockout beard, and now Stern's taking out his wrath on McHale's franchise. Just a theory, I could be wrong.
Like it really matters? NBC already has this season's script worked out and it wasn't like the T-Wolves were major players in it. It's all about L.A. (Lakers) because that's what NBC feels is best for television and David Stern, due to his vast overestimation of his league's popularity (based on MJ mostly), has willingly compromised the competitive integrity of the league in the interests of TV ratings and revenue! Anyone who watched last year's SHAM called "the playoffs" knows this. The WWF has more real competition in it than the NBA anymore. So who the hell really cares what they do?!
My comment on the ruling of Joe Smith's secret contract was and is not worth five first-round draft picks. But whomever masterminded the deal is not worthy also! I believe that the ruling was a bit harsh but fair. This is a major blow to the Minnesota Timberwolves organizatiuon and to Kevin M's (McHale's) army. Lets face it, who ever thought that Joe Smith was good enough for an under the table deal and five first-rounders has to be evaluated. He's a average baller that just cost the Timberwolves future great seasons.
The Timberwolves got exactly what they deserved. I enjoy watching KG (Kevin Garnett) tear it up as much as anyone, but I have no pity for Minnesota whatsoever. The other 28 owners didn't kidnap Glen Taylor's family at gun point in 1998 with instructions to "Sign the new CBA or else...", did they? I hope the message gets across to every owner in the league: This is what happens when you turn wink-wink into ink-ink, and as a result, the Wolves will probably lose Garnett to free-agency before they can blink-blink (can you say "early-out clause?"). If the powers-that-be don't like it, then they should either get rid of the salary cap or learn to actually say the word "no" to all the third-rate players like Smith who demand eight-figure contracts for averaging less than 10 points, seven rebounds a game.
What happens if they end up in the lottery are placed there and then just skipped on draft day? Can they trade them? Can they bundle their second-round draft picks to move up into the first round? I was just wondering!
While I think the punishment for the Timberwolves may have been a little harsh (the next five first round draft picks), I don't think that the NBA's punishment for Joe Smith is nearly strict enough. I believe Joe's contract with the T-wolves called for 2.5 million this year. Now he is a free agent and can sign with Miami for over 4 million. There where two parties that signed this agreement should have equal punishment. We should also not forget about the agent that developed this agreement. Maybe he should not be allowed to represent any new players for five years as well.
I think this is a ridiculous punishment. The Timberwolves have instantly gone from a team that was a few pieces from an puzzle that made an NBA title to a team with little chance of winning one. I realize this is the first team dumb enough to get caught doing this but the NBA didn't prove anything to me. The fact that it's common knowledge that this stuff has gone on in the past but been hidden makes more of an impression on me as a fan than any posturing by the league office. Instead of accomplishing what they had hoped for, the NBA has now doomed a promising franchise and the hopes of an entire sect of fans. It's just too bad that their rules system doesn't allow for equally harsh punishment for the various players with drug and alcohol problems that we all pay money to watch every night. But hey, we all know what's more important when it comes to money and peoples lives...Right?!?
The ruling is ridiculous. Yes Glen Taylor was out of line. Yes, what he did was stupid, but the fact remains that these kind of things happen every day in the NBA. Until David Stern sucks it up and attacks the agents like David Falk and the other teams that do this all the time without being caught, all he managed to do was cripple a franchise that had to suffer through a decade of misery and has been trying to recover from the free agent losses of Gugliotta, Stephon Marbury and the death of Malik Sealy. You have teams like the Lakers and the Knicks that can offer modest salaries with the promise of huge endorsements that the small market teams simply can not promise.
Stern may have been miffed by the arbitrator's ruling, but there are better ways to go about sending a message then this. What you have to look at is: will this kind of thing still go on post-punishment on the T-wolves? Of course it will. So what exactly did he hope to accomplish?
Even though I understand the reasoning behind "bringing down the house" on our T-wolves, I as a fan feel like I am the one Stern is after. The management of the Wolves may have been stupid to put this thing on paper, but as you have repeatably stated, these "wink - wink" deals are as much as part of the NBA (any business actually) as the salary cap itself. Coming from a league that has players in trouble with the law on a regular basis and only gives a token punishment to a player who choked his coach (an actual crime, by the way), this seems very hypocritical. Punish Taylor. Take some more of his millions and be done with it. Don't punish the rest of the team and us fans for his transgressions.
Some years ago it was suggested the NCAA was so
mad at Kentucky they were going to put Cleveland
State on probabtion. This is the same thing.
There is no way New York, Chicago or Los Angeles
would have been punished half this severely.
Hey, if you break the rules, you pay the price. The Timberwolves should get everything that's coming to them. As for Smith: We could use you in N.Y. Come on over!
It's about time that a professional sports official has handed down a real punishment, unlike Frank Robinson's fine that let Roger Clemens off the hook for throwing a bat at Mike Piazza in the World Series.
Justice is served!! Now if the NFL commissioner took a clue from this, the Niners would get the same !!!
It's really not surprising and is rather consistent with NBA logic. Let's face it, if the Knicks (or more likely) the Lakers were found guilty of violating the salary cap in such a manner, Stern whould have given them a slap on the wrist if not ignoreit completely. The next step is for Stern to manipulate Vince Carter's exit from Toronto and Ray Allen's departure from Milwaukee. This just provides another reason to watch the NFL and the NHL and question the integrity of the NBA.