Union upset over Baker signing ban

Posted: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

''It is outrageous for the NBA to prevent Vin Baker from signing with any NBA club,'' union director Billy Hunter said. ''The league's action is a clear admission that Vin is not only fit to play professional basketball, but there are numerous teams willing to sign him today.''

Baker's agent, Aaron Goodwin, said the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat all remain interested in Baker, though he will not make a choice until he is cleared to sign a contract.

The union filed a grievance last month with arbitrator Roger Kaplan after the Boston Celtics terminated the final 2 1/2 seasons of Baker's contract.

League spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the memo was issued. It explained that if Baker wins his arbitration case, his contract with the Celtics would be reinstated.

''He can't sign with someone else if there's a chance of going back to the same contract,'' Frank said.

The union said it would seek a telephone hearing Wednesday with Kaplan asking for an immediate judgment invalidating the NBA's memo and clearing Baker to sign.

''We intend to go to the arbitrator immediately to expose this desperate and blatant attempt to deprive this player of an opportunity to pursue his livelihood and demonstrate to the world that he is ready, willing and fit to play pro basketball,'' Hunter said.

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