Taylor and McHale Accept Punishments for Illegal Deal

Associated Press

Minnesota owner Glen Taylor accepted a suspension and vice president Kevin McHale agreed to a leave of absence as punishment for an illegal deal with former player Joe Smith, and the NBA restored one of the Timberwolves' five forfeited draft picks.

"It's time--we got something back--to put this thing to rest," McHale said Friday.

His unpaid leave is through July 31; Taylor's suspension ends a month later.

The league gave back the Timberwolves' 2003 first-round pick.

"We are pleased to put this episode behind us, so that we and the Timberwolves may focus our full energies on basketball rather than protracted legal proceedings," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

An arbitrator's hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Dallas Maverick Coach Don Nelson left the team indefinitely because of his prostate cancer after Friday night's game against the Chicago Bulls.

Assistant Del Harris, a former Laker coach, will take over in Nelson's absence.

Before Friday's game, the team released a statement saying Nelson, also Dallas' general manager, "will leave the team for an undetermined period of time to explore a course of treatment for his recently diagnosed prostate cancer."

Nelson, 60, will go to Salt Lake City on Sunday to consult with doctors.

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For the second time in two months, Utah Jazz center Olden Polynice has been charged in Salt Lake City with impersonating a police officer in a conflict with another motorist.

In a separate case, Polynice was charged last month after a West Valley City couple accused him of chasing them to their home and flashing an apparent police badge on Oct. 28.

In a misdemeanor complaint filed Friday, Mark and Patti Schneller said they were driving downtown Sept. 13 when a car sped past them and almost hit them.

Mark Schneller responded by making a rude gesture, prompting the other car to stop. The driver, identified by the Schnellers as Polynice, flashed a badge and said: "I'm with the California Sheriff's Office and I can have you arrested," according to prosecutors.

Polynice has said he carries an honorary police badge from the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Ray Allen and Gary Payton got into a fistfight last summer when they were teammates on the U.S. Olympic basketball team.

"He threw a punch at me, I threw one at him and then they separated us," Allen said, ending a two-month silence on an episode that was kept quiet during the Olympics.

Allen said the fight happened in a scrimmage during the U.S. team's first practice upon its arrival in Sydney.

"He and I are good friends now," Allen said. "It wasn't like it was heated or we didn't like each other."

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Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who has angered NBA referees this season, has hired former official Woody Mayfield as a consultant. Cuban has been fined three times this season, totaling $45,000, for his criticism of the officiating. . . . The Phoenix Suns signed veteran point guard Elliot Perry and put rookie center Jake Tsakalidis on the injured list. This is the second time in his nine-year career that the 6-foot guard has played for Phoenix. He was a member of the Suns from 1993-1996, playing in 190 games. . . . Journeyman forward Anthony "Pig" Miller signed with the Houston Rockets for the third time in his career. Miller, a former Laker, played 64 games in two previous stints with the Rockets, averaging 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.

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