Truth & Rumors: Nov. 24, 2004
Posted: Wednesday November 24, 2004 10:46AM; Updated: Wednesday November 24, 2004 4:46PM
Baseball's Hot Stove is heating up with a flurry of rumors and gossip. To keep you up-to-date, we've created a special edition of Hot Stove Truth & Rumors.
Lawsuits were filed against Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, on behalf of two fans who claimed to have been injured in Friday's brawl. John Ackerman and William Paulson are seeking unspecified damages. Ackerman claims he was hit by O'Neal and then knocked unconscious by a chair that was thrown by another fan. Paulson claims he was punched by Jackson.
"There's a reasonable chance Ron Artest will get the (NBA) suspension reduced, although there's zero chance he'll get it eliminated," said Marc Ganis, a consultant to NBA, NFL and MLB teams. "The union will say this is excessive and go to an arbitrator. Arbitrators typically cut the baby in half, so to speak."
Artest acknowledged how close he became to leaving the Palace with an entirely different public perception than he has now. Only 45.9 seconds remained in the game when he walked away from Ben Wallace, who reacted to the foul by shoving Artest. Had that been the end of it, he would have been praised afterward. "I think about it all the time," he said. "All the time. That's what kills me. I was right there. Wow."
Coach Rick Carlisle carried an 8½x11 sheet of white notebook paper through Tuesday morning's shootaround, filled with names of free agents who might be available to the Pacers. Carlisle said the first priority would be a combination shooting guard and small forward, and the second a power forward. Two free agents who made a positive impression in training camp might not be available. Shooting guard Desmon Farmer is under contract with a team in Europe, and combo forward Randy Holcomb has a pending contract with a European team.
Isiah Thomas is said to be interested in dealing for Vince Carter. But the Knicks president is realistic about his chances, especially since he would have to part with his best player, Stephon Marbury.
Carter is still likely to be dealt, but not to the Knicks.
The Nuggets are rumored to have interest in New Jersey guard Jason Kidd, Orlando guards Cuttino Mobley and DeShawn Stevenson and Chicago forward Tyson Chandler and guard Eric Piatkowski.
A rumor that might have some legs is Denver swapping Nene, Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Rodney White to the Bulls for Piatkowski and either Eddy Curry or Chandler.
This week's installment of Alonzo Mourning, Unhappy Camper, found him bashing the Nets' new ownership for saying the reason they purchased the team was to move it to Brooklyn, not to win. Then last night, Mourning, again conceding he would rather be elsewhere, claimed management has asked him to tone down his public complaints.
Karl Malone's agent, Dwight Manley, said that Malone would not make his return -- should he return -- until after Jan. 1 at the earliest.
Minnesota and San Antonio still inquire about him. Malone has said he'd only play for the Lakers if he returns.
Butch Davis will remain coach of the Browns the rest of the season unless he chooses to resign, John Collins, club president, said.
Surely, the Browns are hoping to force Davis into a settlement at a time when a settlement might interest him. A coveted college job at Florida is still hanging the "vacancy" sign. Texas could be open, depending on the Longhorns' game this week against Texas A&M. A rep for Davis recently made a private, back-channel call to Louisiana State University officials -- and made clear Davis is interested in the LSU head coaching job should current Tigers coach Nick Saban leave after this season.
The Eagles' offensive success this season has enhanced the stock of Brad Childress, who figures to be on the short list of many of the teams that will be shopping for a head coach after the season.
One GM last night said there is too much "animosity" for Ricky Williams to return to Miami, but said there will be a market for him if the Dolphins decide to trade him. "The guy will be traded and he will have a job," he said. "Everyone seems to think Oakland is the place he will end up." The GM predicted the Dolphins could get a first-round pick for Williams, but doubted it would be a high No. 1.
Said a current team executive: "I wouldn't give them a pick this year. A 2006 pick? Probably, but it's going to have all sorts of conditions. There's going to be a bunch of ways to get out of the deal if the kid flakes out again.''
Williams has said he isn't likely to play for more than a year or two if he were to return.
Still uncertain which running backs will be available for the Rams game Monday night, the Packers signed James Jackson, a former third-round pick of the Browns.
Caveats, not fanfare, accompanied Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' pseudo-disclosure that backup quarterback Drew Henson will be his starter Thanksgiving Day. Vinny Testaverde is questionable with a shoulder injury and looked to be throwing daintily in individual drills at practice Tuesday.
Quarterback Jay Fiedler was placed on injured reserve after being diagnosed with a herniated cervical disk, meaning his season is over and his Dolphins future is uncertain.
The unrestricted free-agent market is the Giants best hope for an upgrade in targets for Eli Manning. The top wide receivers who could be available after the season include Plaxico Burress (Steelers), Marvin Harrison (Colts), Travis Taylor (Ravens) and David Terrell (Bears).
After all of their cost-cutting measures to deal with the salary cap, the 49ers could be facing one of the most expensive decisions in sports. They might own the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, a spot that last year yielded a six-year contract worth up to $54 million for Manning.
Bears running back Anthony Thomas indicated he has lost faith in the coaching staff after not being used in the Bears' 41-10 loss to the Colts last Sunday.
The Ravens worked out running back Jamel White yesterday and are expected to sign him this morning.
The Jets need to re-sign number two running back LaMont Jordan to a new contract after this season, when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Almost every time Jordan touches the ball (save for that ill-fated halfback option pass) something good happens.
With Earthwind Moreland being burned twice by the Chiefs, the team is likely to look at some corners this week. There's a chance Tyrone Poole could return against the Ravens, although that might be a stretch; he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery just four weeks ago.
If John Kasay shows in practice today that he is healthy, Jeff Chandler's Panther career is likely over after nine days.
The Coyotes' Brett Hull says he doesn't think there will be NHL hockey played this season unless both sides are willing to compromise, which he doesn't see happening until an entire season has been lost. "The players, I think, have to become a little more realistic about what is fair-market value for themselves. But I would also tell (NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow) to stand firm."
Asked if he thinks the lockout will prevent fans from embracing hockey again, Hull said, "I think the fans lost interest starting 10 years ago when Gary Bettman came in, and I think everyone who has watched the game has seen the game decline not only in popularity, but the actual game itself has declined in skill and excitement and fan entertainment value. Something's got to be done. We don't have a TV contract because it's 'a bad game."
Detroit goalie Manny Legace, the Wings' representative for the NHL Players Association, expects Bettman to cancel the season in the next few weeks. When that happens, Legace said, he will take off for Europe.
Jason Perryman, the Blackburn Rovers fan who admitted racially abusing Birmingham City striker Dwight Yorke last weekend has been given a five-year banning order and a £1000 fine. Perryman, who will also have to pay £75 in costs, was caught on TV cameras hurling monkey chants and gesturing towards Yorke during the match.
Spanish football fans shamed their country again last night by hurling racist abuse at Bayer Leverkusen players during the Champions League match at Real Madrid. Several spectators made Nazi salutes and Leverkusen's black defender Roque Junior -- a World Cup winner with Brazil two years ago -- was singled out for abuse from the stands.