Dudley Contract Upheld by Arbitrator

From Staff and Wire Report

The contract free-agent center Chris Dudley signed with the Portland Trail Blazers has been upheld by the NBA’s special master.

The NBA and the Trail Blazers said Thursday they had been informed by Merrell Clark, who arbitrated the case, that he will rule in favor of the team.

The league said it would challenge the decision in federal court.

NBA Commissioner David Stern voided the seven-year contract a month ago, contending its one-year escape clause was “a blatant and transparent attempt to circumvent the fundamental principles” of the league’s salary cap.


Stern had threatened to fine the Trail Blazers up to $1 million and force the franchise to forfeit draft picks if the action was upheld.

Clark’s decision also apparently validates contracts with one-year escape clauses signed by Toni Kukoc with Chicago and Craig Ehlo with Atlanta.

Dudley signed an $11-million contract that pays him $800,000 for the first season. He turned down a seven-year, $21 million deal with his old team, the New Jersey Nets.

But the Portland contract allows Dudley to become a free agent again after next season. At that time, the Trail Blazers could offer him an unlimited amount of money because a team can exceed the salary cap to retain a free agent.

NBA officials said the large difference between the New Jersey offer and the deal Dudley signed with Portland made it obvious there was an understanding that he would be given a much larger contract after next season.


The Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a trade that will bring in 1991 all-star guard Hersey Hawkins to fill the void created when guard Kendall Gill was traded to Seattle, the Charlotte Observer reported. Completion of the deal depended on Gill’s physical in Seattle. Lab test results were expected today.


An NHL investigation found no evidence players on the Ottawa Senators deliberately lost games in order to secure the top pick in last June’s draft.

However, the league fined the Senators $100,000 for comments made by former co-owner Bruce Firestone that “cast aspersions on the integrity and professionalism” of those involved, and for not informing league officials of the allegations against the club.


Former boxer Marvin Hagler was fined $350 and had his license suspended for 90 days after being found guilty of drunk driving in Conway, N.H. Hagler, 39, was pulled over July 8 on Route 302 in Bartlett, N.H. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the time.

A jury in Columbus, Ohio, has ordered former heavyweight champion Buster Douglas to pay the city of Columbus $293,163 in taxes from the $24.1 million he received from his 1990 title fight against Evander Holyfield.


Morris Hatalsky had eight birdies to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Greater Milwaukee Open. Steve Pate birdied the last three holes for a seven-under-par 65 at Tuckaway Country Club in Franklin, Wis. . . . The 1997 PGA Championship will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.