Minnesota Timberwolves Secret Agreement

The Lakers, for example, make no secret of the $1.2 million exception they are now offering Smith, through the grace of Stern, a free agent. NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday that the “shocking” fraud by the Minnesota Timberwolves forced him to impose a record fine on a secret contract for star forward Joe Smith. “He wants his owners to make more money by forcing them to respect the collective agreement,” said the union official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Smith`s long but low-key career has made this scandal truly inexplicable. If the Timberwolves had instead had an illegal deal with Garnett, it would have been stupid if they had been caught, but they would still have played the game on a future Hall of Famer and an all-time great. Instead, they essentially threw a companion half a decade of future development. The NBA is sometimes a strange place. There is no dispute on the facts: the Timberwolves have signed Joe Smith, a career disappointment now at the center of a storm worthy of a better player, to a secret long-term contract that violates salary-cap rules. The NBA also asked the Players Association to practice “appropriate discipline” against Eric Fleisher, Smith`s former agent. A hearing is to be held to determine which Timberwolves staff were aware of the secret agreement.

Fleisher eventually lost Garnett to his former teammate Andy Miller and sued Miller. Trials are the nasty, non-holds-barred fights they are, which should be on the surface, but . . . . Smith`s secret contracts! 2000: David Stern punishes wolves for a pay cap scandal that went back and forth between Joe Smith and the McHale. When Smith signed in 1998, he and the Wolves made a verbal agreement that McHale would reward him with a multi-year contract if Smith signed a one-year contract in 1998 for less than market value. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor acknowledged through reporters that he signed the secret agreement, but said the team`s vice president for basketball operations, Kevin McHale, and coach Flip Saunders were not involved.

The Commissioner has the power to suspend for one year anyone involved in the agreement. Salary caps have been part of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players` union since 1983. The cap is determined by the distribution of 48 percent of the league`s annual revenue, minus the benefits for players, among the 29 teams. To maintain his indignation, Stern plays in silence and claims that secret assurances are not common (“Not to my knowledge.”) In a conference call, Assistant Commissioner Russ Granik told the authors, “If you have proof, send it to me, and we will prosecute accordingly.” N E W Y O R K, October 26, 2000 — NBA Commissioner David Stern came the Minnesota Timberwolves for their secret pay arrangement with Joe Smith, took five first-round picks from above the team and you did a $3.5 million penance.