Shamed Ref: NBA Playoffs Were Rigged

"My reaction to Donaghy's lawyer are that clearly as the date of sentencing gets closer, and the things that he's thrown against the wall haven't stuck, he's rehashing a variety of things that have been given to the U.S. Attorney and the FBI, fully investigated, and are baseless," Stern said. "We have been asked to cooperate for the last year by providing people and answering questions, and we've done that. And our understanding is that the investigation is just about wrapped up waiting for the sentencing of Mr. Donaghy, and as he continues desperately to somehow get out of the fact that he is subject to a longer sentence possibly than his co-conspirators, there are this continuing flow of allegations from, don't forget, an admitted felon. So they're baseless."

Also Tuesday, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked about the allegations regarding Game 6 of the 2002 series against Sacramento.

"Was that after the fifth game, after we had the game stolen away from us after a bad call out of bounds and gave the ball back to Sacramento and they made a 3-point shot?" he said. "There's a lot of things going on in these games and they're suspicious, but I don't want to throw it back to there."

Jackson also was asked if he agreed with the notion that there were officials that were "NBA company men" who were doing this for the sake of ratings.

"Only us basketball coaches think that," Jackson said. "Nobody else can go to that extreme. They referee what they see in front of them. You know, a lot of things have happened in the course of the Tim Donaghy disposition. I think we have to weigh it as it comes out, and we all think that probably referees should be under a separate entity than the NBA entirely. I mean, that's what we'd like to see probably in the NBA. It would just be separate and apart from it. But I don't think that's going to happen."

Lamell McMorris, head of the NBA referees union, also issued a statement:

"Tim Donaghy has had honesty and credibility issues from the get-go," the statement reads. "He is a convicted felon who has not yet been sentenced for the criminal conduct he has already admitted to. He may be willing to say anything to help his cause and he may believe these most recent allegations will help his agenda. I'm not aware of any improper conduct by any current NBA referee in the playoffs six years ago or any conspiracy by the NBA to affect the outcome of any game then or now. Frankly we're tired of Tim Donaghy's cat and mouse games."

Donaghy's letter said that in the first of several meetings with prosecutors and the FBI in New York in 2007, he named names. He faces up to 33 months in prison.

Donaghy's attorney and federal prosecutors declined to comment to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

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