NBA D-League Shows its Sleazy Side Prior to Playoffs

[Note: I have recently learned that the d-league has approved Greene’s return to the Flash and he is flying to Idaho to join the team (31 Mar 11).] reported that Orien Greene was not able to play in the CBA playoffs in China and not in the playoffs for the Utah Flash in the NBA D-League because of FIBA and the D-league’s errors.

According to the niubball article, Greene was suspended from FIBA play in June 2010 for tampering with a urine sample in the Netherlands. At that time, Greene had already played a full season with the D-league’s Utah Flash. The suspension was for 2 years, retroactive to March 12, 2009.

With that understanding, Greene and China’s Xinjiang, Beijing team flew Greene out to play in a tournament that started in March of 2011, days after the suspension was to have been lifted.

To everyone’s surprise, FIBA said Greene could not play because he had been playing for the Utah Flash and the New Jersey Nets, two teams somehow associated with FIBA.

I say “somehow associated” because clearly the D-league has never had a trapezoidal shaped key, the international position of the 3-point arc, and are not in any way governed by FIBA.

It gets worse though.

Now, according to Ridiculous Upside, two d-league teams and the d-league’s executive committee have filed a complaint claiming Orien should not be allowed to play for the Utah Flash in the d-league playoffs, which start soon.

To me, the maneuver from these 3 groups, and its timing, is just sleazy.

First, to quote Jon Pastuszek, author of the article,

“Greene will be able to appeal, but really there’s no point: The paperwork, processing and ruling will all take weeks and even if FIBA’s decision is reversed, it will likely come until after the playoffs are over.” – Jon Pastuszek,

In other words, if it turns out that FIBA, the D-League and the NBA screwed up, they won’t be the ones to pay for the mistake. Orien Greene and the Utah Flash will have to.

The two teams complaining about Orien haven’t been named, but if they are playoff teams, I bet they can smell the hypocrisy all the way to Beijing.

No one in the d-league or NBA cared that Orien played all season with the Flash. But now that Orien is playing well enough to get called up to the NBA this season (a 10-day contract with the New Jersey Nets just prior to the all-star break, and a workout with the Chicago Bulls just after), and the Utah Flash are finishing the season as one of the hottest teams in the d-league, having won 14 of their last 18 games, including the last several games WITHOUT Orien…

Suddenly these jokers expect us to believe that they have abruptly acquired a moral outrage about Greene’s 2-year old FIBA suspension, and that Orien shouldn’t play for the Flash now to be “consistent” with FIBA.

Oh the hypocrisy.

Mind you, I am not defending Orien Greene. Greene made a serious mistake and there should be serious consequences for it.

But since that incident, Greene has clearly done what FIBA wanted of him: he has not stepped foot on a FIBA court, and has obviously not ran afoul of NBA d-league drug testing in two years of play.

Orien Greene paid for his mistake, and now some groups who may well stand to benefit from Greene being barred from the Flash this season, expect Greene to pay for their mistakes.

To quote Jon Pastuszek again:

“But, talking with a source with knowledge of the situation, FIBA’s decision to prolong Greene’s suspension comes under questionable circumstances. If Greene isn’t allowed to play in the CBA which is a professional league registered under FIBA, then why was signed off to play in the D-League and the NBA, which are also registered FIBA leagues? What at least on the surface seems like a major inconsistency in FIBA’s logic has seemingly cost Greene a job.” — Jon Pastuszek,

And if the NBA-DL brass opt to follow FIBA’s faulty thinking, banning Greene from FIBA and d-league play both, even after more than 2 years of time passing, could cost Greene his career.

In fact, if the d-league executive committee themselves had any moral compass, they wouldn’t be throwing Greene under a bus, but would be defending him instead — both to FIBA and to the D-league brass. After all, isn’t the purpose of the “NBA Development League” to develop players?

What development could be more worthwhile to a young player than to learn the hard lessons Orien Greene has learned these last 2 years in Utah?

By all appearances, the d-league complaints about Greene have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the league, but are instead about weaseling a competitive advantage before the playoffs.

Greene’s done his time, he’s been clean, and he’s only played where the league allowed him to play.

Hopefully the d-league mans up and does the right thing.

Given their timing and the circumstances, it is obvious that the complaints against Greene have little to do with the FIBA suspension, and everything to do with holding Greene and the Flash back.

And frankly, if these guys really think paying fans are too dumb to see those reasons and not be disgusted with them, then it’s time somebody made the d-league’s executive committee pee in a jar.

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