BasketBrawl: What Comes Next?

Fans sitting along the baseline were endangered by the Robinson-Smith scrap, something the league office won't ignore.

For proof, we refer you to the better comparison, which was less than a year ago.

In Seattle, on Jan. 11, 2006, Orlando's Keyon Dooling and Seattle's Ray Allen wound up in the first row of seats along the sideline after fighting.

Dooling was suspended for five games for throwing a punch at Allen (which did not connect) and for what the league described as "attempting to confront [Allen] in the hallway following his ejection." Allen was suspended for three games.

How soon will the NBA announce the suspensions and fines?

Neither team plays Sunday and both have games Monday night. That gives Stern's staff a day-plus to conduct an investigation before the Knicks or Nuggets play again.

The inquiry will begin with NBA security personnel interviewing numerous players from both teams and include an extensive review of raw footage of the game from a variety of angles -- footage that wasn't seen on the game broadcast or initial TV news reports -- in an attempt to determine exactly who did what.

Yet as much as the league would undoubtedly love to release its ruling on Sunday, when much of the nation is preoccupied with the NFL, Monday is more likely given how much has to be examined.

How closely will the two head coaches be looked at?

You can accuse Denver's George Karl of leaving his starters in way too long ... but you can't punish him for it. That's not an NBA crime. Not even if he did so as a way to convey his contempt for Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, as fallout from the offseason firing of Karl's close friend Larry Brown.

Thomas, by contrast, might be facing more than accusations. You can be sure the league will investigate suggestions that Collins' hard foul on Smith came via mandate from the Knicks' bench.

That sort of directive would be difficult to prove, but's Chris Sheridan reported Saturday night that Thomas, according to a member of the Nuggets' organization, warned Anthony not to venture near the paint not long before Collins' foul.

Which could put Thomas under the microscope as well, if similar accounts are conveyed to league personnel during Sunday's interview process.

Can players be traded while serving a suspension?

This is a pertinent question given Denver's well-chronicled pursuit of Allen Iverson.

The answer?

It appears to be, in the words of one Western Conference executive reached Saturday night, "a gray area."

It's believed that there is no language in the NBA's operations manual that specifically deals with teams' ability to trade a suspended player. The teams would likely require special permission from the league office if a player suspended for his actions Saturday night is needed by the Nuggets to complete an Iverson trade in coming days.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for To e-mail him, click here.

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