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NBA Says Sprewell Plans lawsuit

May 18, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ The NBA says it has been told that Latrell Sprewell plans to file a lawsuit seeking damages stemming from his suspension for choking Golden State Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo.

``We have been informed by attorneys representing Latrell Sprewell that they are planning to file a lawsuit based upon a claim that Dean Feerick’s arbitration award, which upheld a suspension of 68 games, somehow violated Sprewell’s rights, the antitrust laws and the labor laws,″ said a statement Monday by Jeffrey A. Mishkin, the NBA’s chief legal officer.

``Any such claim would be totally absurd,″ the statement concluded.

Sprewell attacked Carlesimo during practice on Dec. 1, resulting in a one-year suspension _ the longest in NBA history. The Warriors terminated the remaining three years on Sprewell’s $32 million contract.

But arbitrator Feerick ruled March 4 that the contract termination and suspension were excessive. He ordered that Sprewell be reinstated by the Warriors and the suspension end on July 1.

Sprewell missed 68 games, accounting for about $6.4 million in lost wages.

The Warriors, which now must honor the two remaining years on Sprewell’s contract or trade him, did not immediately comment on the matter Monday.

Representatives for the NBA players’ association also did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Attorney John Burris, who represents Sprewell on another legal matter, could not confirm details about the pending lawsuit.

``I can’t confirm that it’s going to happen today,″ Burris said. ``I know it had been under consideration.″

Sprewell’s agent, Arn Tellem, was not in his Southern California office and was unavailable for comment.

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