The NBA notebook …
INDIANAPOLIS ó Larry Bird’s rebuilding project with the Indiana Pacers faces a big step with tonight’s NBA draft.
If things come together, the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations could get an early start.
Bird said Tuesday he has been discussing trades with several teams in hopes of adding a second first-round pick to the team’s No. 11 selection and perhaps a couple of veterans as he embarks on the task of remaking the Pacers.
“We’re talking to a lot of teams. Every team you talk to, they have a lot of things on the board like we do,” Bird said. “A lot of times, someone will call right before you pick. I think if they call now, it’s better than waiting till Thursday. But we’re looking to make trades, and we’re looking at all the possibilities.”
There has been rampant speculation this week about a possible deal involving six-time All-Star Jermaine O’Neal. He has been the face of the team since Reggie Miller retired after the 2004-05 season, but Bird would not confirm whether O’Neal was the subject of any potential trades.
Trading O’Neal could be just the start of a major facelift.
The Pacers desperately want to shed their bad-boy reputation, and Bird indicated how committed he is to making it happen when discussing the future of former first-round picks Shawne Williams and Jamaal Tinsley in Indiana.
“Shawne is on thin ice,” he said. “You know we’ve had enough really. If we can do something to get something back for him, we’ll probably do it. But he’s on thin ice. And Jamaal is just below him.”
SHAQ LOSES ANOTHER BADGE
BEDFORD, Va. ó Shaquille O’Neal’s raunchy rap in which he mocked former teammate Kobe Bryant is costing him another of his lawman badges.
Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown said Wednesday that he has asked the Phoenix Suns center to return a badge he was given for his work with the southwest Virginia county’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The decision comes one day after a sheriff in Arizona asked O’Neal to return a special deputy’s badge because of language he used in the rap.
The freestyle rap was recorded and posted at TMZ.com.
NEW YORK ó A federal judge cast doubt Wednesday on the NBA’s demand that disgraced referee Tim Donaghy pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution, saying he might not have to foot the bill for an internal review of refereeing done in the wake of the league’s gambling scandal.
“Is it even recoverable?” U.S. District Judge Carol Amon asked of the $516,971 tab for a law firm that interviewed 57 NBA referees as part of the internal investigation.
RIVERS’ STAINED SHIRT
BOSTONó The Gatorade-stained shirt worn by Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers as the team won its first NBA championship in 22 years has been auctioned for $55,000.
An anonymous bidder bought the shirt, autographed by Rivers and Celtics star Paul Pierce, and the accompanying Gatorade bucket at a charity auction on sports radio WEEI-AM’s Web site. The proceeds will benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation.
The foundation said Tuesday the high bid of $35,000 came from an anonymous bidder.
NEW ORLEANS ó The New Orleans Hornets have agreed to send their first-round draft pick, the 27th overall, to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for cash.