NBA, Latrell Sprewell and Golden State coach P.J. Carlesimo met face to face during a hearing over whether Sprewell's punishment was unduly severe.
Warriors players Felton Spencer, Joe Smith and Bimbo Coles testified along with assistant coaches Paul Westhead and Rod Higgins. Carlesimo's testimony, presumably a necessary part of the proceedings, might not come until the sessions shift to New York next week.The sessions are closed, and arbitrator John Feerick, dean of the Fordham Law School, has issued a gag order. The hearing tentatively is to continue through Friday in Portland, then shift to New York.
Sprewell was thrown out of the league for a year, the longest non-drug suspension in NBA history, and the remaining three years of his contract with Golden State, valued at $25 million, were terminated.
Feerick's decision is binding under the league's collective bargaining agreement with the union. Feerick has 30 days to rule after either the last day of the hearing or after any later hearing resulting from the briefs.
With Carlesimo and Sprewell both listening, the Warriors told their versions of the Dec. 1 incident and all that led up to it. By all accounts, Sprewell broke away from a passing drill and assaulted Carlesimo, grabbing him by the throat and threatening to kill him. Sprewell left the gym, then returned 20 minutes later and went at the coach again.
Whether that second confrontation amounted to a second assault is one of the subjects of contention.