- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Washington Wizards forward Tyrone Nesby, who engaged in a heated, expletive-laden argument with coach Leonard Hamilton in the first quarter of Monday's game with the Milwaukee Bucks, was summoned to New York yesterday to meet with league officials.

"He's excused from practice today," Wizards assistant general manager Rod Higgins said following yesterday's practice at MCI Center.

However, it seems unlikely the league called Nesby to New York about his tirade. According to a league source, the league normally doesn't get involved in matters that "really are nothing more than bench squabbles." The league is much more concerned with infractions similar to the one involving New York's Marcus Camby.

On Monday, Camby threw a punch at San Antonio's Danny Ferry. In the process, Camby missed Ferry but head-butted his coach, Jeff Van Gundy. He is expected to be suspended by the league. The league is highly guarded about matters that may have legal ramifications, such as drug offenses or similarly punishable crimes.

Another reason the meeting probably had little to do with Monday's incident was that the Wizards knew beforehand Nesby would miss yesterday's practice.

"I've known about this for some time now," Hamilton said.

In Nesby's case, his only known offense was making a scene in Monday's 101-95 loss to Milwaukee. In that game, Hamilton yanked Nesby and starting guard Felipe Lopez from the lineup with 8:03 left in the first quarter. As Nesby walked past Hamilton the two exchanged angry words, and Nesby continued to holler profanities at Hamilton long after he took his seat.

The exchange became so heated that fans within earshot ignored the on-court action and focused on the argument. At first Nesby refused to leave the bench despite Hamilton's orders to do so, but eventually he was escorted to the locker room by assistant coach Larry Drew and arena security personnel.

However, both player and coach said the matter was settled at halftime. As a result, Nesby was allowed to rejoin the team on the bench for the second half, but he did not re-enter the game.

"It wasn't handled right," Wizards general manager Wes Unseld said, sparing neither the coach nor the player. "It shouldn't have happened, but these type of things pop up when you are going through a tough period like we are. The frustration level is high for everybody. It probably would have been better if they [held off the argument until] halftime."

Some of Nesby's teammates agreed that whatever differences he might have had with Hamilton, they should not have been aired in that manner.

"You don't do that," said one player, speaking anonymously. "If you have a problem, you say something about it and talk about it later, not there on the bench."

Nesby will rejoin the team tonight for its game in New Jersey. However, Hamilton would not guarantee he would be in the starting lineup.

"Maybe you can, maybe you can't," Hamilton responded when asked if it was safe to assume Nesby would start.

Nesby is the third member of the Wizards to be summoned to New York this season. Point guard Rod Strickland, out with tendinitis in his left shoulder, visited with NBA officials after his driving under the influence arrest his third in three years Jan. 8. Strickland, who was also charged with refusing to take a breath test, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Jan. 30.

Reserve forward Michael Smith also met with league officials regarding his role in a New Year's Eve brawl that resulted in his arrest.


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