The National Basketball Players Association will file a grievance on behalf of Bart Kofoed, the Jazz guard waived in the wake of his fight with former teammate Bobby Hansen.
At stake is about $80,000, the amount left on Kofoed's $125,000 guaranteed contract this season. The Jazz cut off his salary in waiving him, citing the 20-b-1 conduct clause in the standard NBA players contract. "We certainly feel it's a very harsh penalty," Players Association executive director Charles Grantham said Friday, after talking to Kofoed's agent, Ron Grinker.Grantham is not aware of a direct precedent for the case, which would go to binding arbitration unless a settlement is reached. "I feel strongly that we will go to whatever limits it takes to see that Bart is paid," Grantham said. "We will absolutely move forward. We can't force them to keep a player on the roster, but we are in a position to help regarding his desire to ask for payment."
Jazz general manager David Checketts said this week, "This is an appropriate measure . . . We won't allow these kinds of things to happen on our team and we have to respond."
Mark Eaton, the Jazz's player representative, was involved in the case only in that he advised Kofoed to contact Grantham. "I just referred him to the right people," Eaton said. "That's my job to look out for the players."
Counting Jim Farmer, the Jazz have 11 active players. If they want to add a 12th player to fill Kofoed's vacancy, they'll have to sign him for the rest of the season.
NBA rules allow 10-day contracts for players only if the team has a player on the injured list _ Farmer, technically, replaces Hansen. Following successful surgery, Hansen's return is targeted at five weeks, trainer Don Sparks said. That would take him through the All-Star break, with a possible first game Feb. 14.