The Latrell Sprewell arbitration case, which resumes Monday, is turning out to be more deliberate than originally envisioned.
The hearing was expected to conclude in New York with testimony Tuesday and Wednesday. But as testimony dragged along last week in Portland, Ore., additional hearing days were added for Monday and Thursday.
Although a gag order has kept all testimony secret, it's clear that it's taking a lot longer than expected.
Those expected to take the stand this week include NBA commissioner David Stern, Golden State general manager Garry St. Jean and Warriors coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Carlesimo will travel across the country to make it to the hearing Thursday -- the last day before the All-Star break.
St. Jean was in Portland for two days expecting to testify, but never got the chance.
Arbitrator John Feerick, dean of the Fordham law school, is to decide whether Sprewell received too severe a punishment for choking and threatening to kill Carlesimo.
Arn Tellem, Sprewell's agent, testified for five hours Friday. His testimony apparently centered around Sprewell's dislike of Carlesimo and his desire to be traded.
Initially, after the Dec. 1 attack during a Warriors practice, the team suspended Sprewell for 10 days and attempted to trade him.
But the NBA suspended Sprewell for a year, the longest non-drug related suspension in league history, and the Warriors terminated the final three years of his contract, worth just under $24 million.
During the Portland sessions, the length of Tellem's testimony was second only to that of Sprewell, who was on the stand for more than six hours Thursday.
Sprewell attended all four days of the Portland hearing.
Four Warriors players testified -- Joe Smith, Bimbo Coles, Felton Spencer and Muggsy Bogues. Golden State assistant coaches Paul Westhead and Rod Higgins testified, as did weight training coach Mark Grabow, executive vice president Al Attles and team doctor Robert Albo.
The union and Sprewell's attorneys seem to be contesting allegations that, after the initial choking and threat to kill Carlesimo, Sprewell came back 20 minutes later and assaulted the coach again. Sprewell contends that he never struck the coach during the second encounter.
The NBA used the second attack as evidence that the assault was not something that occurred only in the heat of the moment, but that it continued in a "premeditated" fashion even after Sprewell had time to cool off.
Feerick's ruling, which is binding under the collective bargaining agreement, is expected by mid-March at the latest.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved