Watch CBSN Live

Secret Deal Between Smith, T'wolves?

Joe Smith of the Minnesota Timberwolves has a secret deal with owner Glen Taylor that would pay him as much as $93 million for 10 years, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The NBA began an arbitration proceeding last week, maintaining the agreement violated salary cap rules. The league said at the time the written agreement calls for "tens of millions of dollars, and was deliberately hidden."

When Smith signed with Minnesota in January 1999, the club filed with the league a one-year contract worth only $1.75 million. But the NBA said it learned of the separate agreement.

That agreement features a 10-year arrangement under which Taylor agreed to sign Smith to three one-year contracts of $1.75 million, $2.1 million and $3.6 million, the Times said.

Taylor also agreed he would give Smith before the 2001-2002 season two additional contracts that cumulatively would be worth between $40.6 million and $86 million over seven years, the newspaper said.

The amount would be depend on performance clauses, such as whether Smith made the All-Star team or led the Timberwolves to a championship.

The NBA said Thursday it would have no further comment because the matter is in arbitration.

Joel Litvin, the NBA's general counsel, said last week, "This is the most serious salary cap offense that can be committed by teams, players, or agents."

Taylor told The Associated Press last week that he met with NBA commissioner David Stern and told him he thinks the team followed procedures in reaching an agreement with Smith on a one-year, $2.35 million deal.

The dispute will go before arbitrator Kenneth Dam. The NBA said if he confirms a secret deal, Stern could impose multimillion-dollar fines, loss of draft picks, the voiding of player contracts and suspension of team personnel.

Smith, selected first overall by Golden State in the 1995 draft, averaged 9.9 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.

©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed