The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 January 2008

The Birdman watch begins

As noted here previously, Chris "Birdman" Andersen will apply for reinstatement after spending two years under NBA suspension for drug use. The process is still a bit murky:

Sources have told ESPN.com that the "wheels are already in motion" for Andersen to attempt a comeback, a somewhat arduous process that will begin with him filling out a multi-page application for reinstatement and sending it, along with dozens of pages of supporting documentation, to the league office in New York via overnight mail.

Andersen must then schedule a meeting with members of both the commissioner's office and the players' union, and the consent of both organizations is needed for Andersen to be reinstated. Andersen has no right to appeal if his reinstatement application is rejected.

There is no language in the collective bargaining agreement specifying any kind of a timetable for the reinstatement process, so it could be only a matter of days — or it could take several weeks — for Andersen to get a definitive answer.

I had suggested that the New Orleans Hornets, who have first rights to Andersen's services, might pass him up, but maybe not:

New Orleans has won 14 of 16 games to move atop the Western Conference, and it would stand to reason that they'd be interested in re-signing Andersen prior to the playoffs, adding an energy player to a front line with suspect depth behind starting big men Tyson Chandler and David West. The Hornets are nearly $5 million below the league's luxury tax threshold.

They'd have to pay him a prorated percentage of his original salary, which was around $3.5 million a year. And perhaps more to the point, they have 14 players on the roster, which means there's room for one more.

And apparently I missed another point:

An NBA spokesman said Andersen would be the first player since Roy Tarpley, who was banned from the NBA in 1995, to formally apply for reinstatement.

Tarpley's application was denied and he sued the NBA last September in federal court in Houston claiming the league violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to reinstate him.

There's a difference, though: Tarpley was suspended, subsequently reinstated, and then permanently banned after a second offense.

Posted at 5:33 PM to Net Proceeds