3 Current and 2 Former Suns Indicted on Drug Charges : Gambling Allegation Also Probed; Walter Davis Suffers Relapse
Jay Humphries, James Edwards and Grant Gondrezick, all players with the Phoenix Suns, and former Suns Mike Bratz and Garfield Heard were indicted Friday on cocaine charges.
A fourth Sun, leading scorer Walter Davis, was not indicted but was found by the grand jury to have used cocaine since leaving a rehabilitation program in Van Nuys last season.
Davis was suspended by the Suns and has submitted to treatment again. Should he suffer another relapse, he would be barred from playing in the National Basketball Assn.
“We will stand behind our players through this,” Sun General Manager Jerry Colangelo said at a news conference. “Despite the problem at hand, we will survive. We will not let this set us back.”
The Suns will play their final game of the season here tonight against the Clippers. Colangelo said that Humphries and Gondrezick will be allowed to play if they choose to do so. Edwards is on the disabled list.
The Arizona Republic also reported an allegation of a player providing gambling information in connection with the case.
The newspaper quoted an unnamed Phoenix police officer, who said that the investigation started in mid-February after Edwards, in a group that included two other NBA players at Malarkey’s nightclub in Phoenix, was alleged to have said that the point total in the Milwaukee-Phoenix game Feb. 21 would not exceed 226 points. Milwaukee won, 115-107, a total of 222 points.
The Phoenix policeman was also quoted as saying that a non-player who had been part of Edwards’ group in Malarkey’s reportedly won $100,000 by placing an “over-under” bet on the game.
The grand jury made no mention of gambling or point-shaving allegations, but NBA Commissioner David Stern said he is starting his own investigation.
“The (Maricopa) county attorney’s office has not provided us with any facts relating to gambling, and I am not aware of any information other than what has appeared in the newspapers,” Stern said in a prepared statement. “Accordingly, I have no basis for believing that there is any involvement in gambling by anyone associated with the NBA, the Phoenix Suns or any other team. However, in light of the seriousness of this subject, I have begun an investigation into these allegations.”
Humphries, 24, a graduate of
Inglewood High School in Inglewood, Calif., is the starting point guard who has already broken the club record for assists in a season. He was indicted on one count of conspiracy to transfer and/or possess a narcotic drug.
Edwards, 31, a nine-year veteran center, was indicted on three counts--conspiracy to possess a narcotic drug, conspiracy to transfer a narcotic drug and conspiracy to transfer or possess marijuana.
Gondrezick, 24, a rookie guard from Pepperdine, was indicted on three counts--conspiracy to possess a narcotic drug, transfer or offer to transfer a narcotic drug and attempt to possess a narcotic drug.
Bratz, 31, was indicted on three counts--conspiracy to traffic in a narcotic drug, conspiracy to transfer and/or possess narcotic drugs and conspiracy to traffic a narcotic drug or marijuana.
Heard, 38, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to traffic a narcotic drug or marijuana. Heard joined the Suns in 1976 and was last with the team in the 1979-80 season.
Heard made the most famous shot in franchise history, sending the fifth game of the 1976 final series against Boston into overtime. He now serves as chairman of the Phoenix Youth Commission and as a member of a drug-abuse task force appointed by Mayor Terry Goddard.
Goddard, in Italy, said in a statement that he was shocked by the indictment and would ask Heard to suspend his participation on the panels.
“I am not asking him to resign at this point, but I feel it is appropriate for him to step aside until the legal process is concluded,” Goddard said.
Phoenix television station KPNX also reported that rookie center William Bedford had been granted immunity from prosecution in return for testifying before the grand jury, as had Davis.
Phoenix Police Chief Ruben Ortega said evidence showed that Davis, Bedford and four other former Suns--Johnny High, Curtis Perry, Alvin Scott and Don Buse--were “present or had knowledge of illegal drug transactions.”
Two Phoenix area businessmen also were indicted, along with a Sun photographer, a team ticket taker and Kevin Merriweather, 26, who is Bedford’s roommate and the son of one of Bedford’s three agents. Merriweather was indicted on one count of obstructing a criminal investigation or prosecution.
Bratz was arrested Friday in Sacramento and jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Said Stern: “What this instance sadly points out is that the use of illegal drugs can not only ruin your health, destroy your family and cost you your job, it can, if you are found guilty, also put you in jail. We can only continue to hope that NBA players and other members of society eventually will come to learn this lesson.”
THE GAME IN QUESTION
Bucks 115, Suns 107
MILWAUKEE PHOENIX G FT T G FT T Cummings 7-15 1 15 Pinckney 2-2 4 8 Pressey 3-3 2 8 Sanders 5-13 4 14 Sikma 4-14 6 14 Nance 7-12 7 21 Lucas 10-18 3 24 Davis 12-23 3 27 Moncrief 2-6 2 6 Humphries 5-11 1 11 Breuer 1-2 0 2 Gondrezick 0-2 2 2 Pierce 8-13 6 22 Addison 1-3 2 4 Hodges 4-7 2 11 Adams 5-8 2 12 Bradley 2-5 0 6 Hornacek 3-5 0 7 Bridgeman 3-6 0 6 Bedford 0-0 1 1 Reynolds 0-0 1 1 Gattison 0-0 0 0 Total 44-89 23 115 Total 40-79 26 107
Milwaukee. . . 33 26 26 30--115 Phoenix. . . . 39 21 18 29--107 Three-point goals--Bradley 2, Hodges, Hornacek. Fouled out--None. Total fouls--Milwaukee 27, Phoenix 24. Rebounds--Milwaukee 52 (Sikma 12). Phoenix 41 (Nance 9). Assists--Milwaukee 31 (Lucas 10). Phoenix (Nance 7). Att--14,471.