Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Webber avoids prison sentence

Criminal contempt charge carries fine

Enquirer wire services

DETROIT - On the eve of his federal perjury trial, Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber pleaded guilty Monday to a lesser charge of criminal contempt in a deal that is expected to allow him to avoid prison time.

Webber had been charged with lying to a grand jury about money authorities say he received from former Michigan basketball booster Ed Martin. He could have faced up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

In the agreement with prosecutors, Webber will face a fine. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds will decide whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor. Sentencing was set for Sept. 16.

Martin, who died Feb. 14 at age 69, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to launder money. He said he lent $616,000 to Webber and three other Wolverines players - Maurice Taylor, Robert Traylor and Louis Bullock - while they were amateurs. Martin said he gave Webber and his family $280,000 from 1988-93, a period extending from his freshman year in high school through his sophomore season at Michigan.

NUGGETS: Los Angeles Clippers restricted free-agent point guard Andre Miller has agreed to sign with Denver, a source said. Miller, the NBA's assists leader in 2001-02, is expected to sign the deal once the league's free agency period begins Wednesday, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The Clippers will have 15 days to match the offer, first reported in The Denver Post, or Miller will go to the Nuggets.

MAGIC: Veteran forward Juwan Howard intends to sign with the Orlando Magic.

Howard will be signed to a five-year contract worth between $28 million and $38 million, said a source within the NBA speaking on condition of anonymity. He can sign the contract as early as Wednesday, when the league's free agency period begins.

WIZARDS: Washington guard Jerry Stackhouse was arrested and charged with assault Sunday after he was accused of grabbing a woman at a house he was renting.

Stackhouse, 28, was renting the house near the North Carolina coast, according to a police statement.

Stackhouse was told by a female employee of the property manager that he and his guests had to leave around 2:30 p.m., but he apparently believed he had rented it until Monday, Atlantic Beach Police said.

He attempted to grab the lease from the woman, but grabbed her instead, police said.

She felt threatened and went to the magistrate's office to take out a warrant, police said.

Stackhouse surrendered to police and was released on $2,000 bond.

SPURS: Seventeen-year veteran Steve Kerr, the most accurate 3-point shooter in league history, said he would probably play one more season with San Antonio before retiring.

"The Spurs have asked me to play another season," the 37-year-old Kerr said in a telephone interview. "I'll probably end up playing."

CAVALIERS: LeBron James scored 25 points with nine rebounds and five assists Monday night as the Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game of the Boston summer league, losing to the Celtics 87-84. The 25 points were his most in three summer-league games.

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