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Wallace, James played before trade cleared

NEW YORK -- The Detroit Pistons were fined $200,000 by the
NBA on Monday for using Rasheed Wallace and Mike James before the
deal that brought them to the team was finalized.

The league said it was the first time a player acquired in a
trade played for his new team before the NBA officially approved
the move.

Wallace and James were acquired in a three-team trade with
Atlanta and Boston last Thursday, and both played in the first half
of the Pistons' 88-87 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Both players were pulled at halftime when it was discovered that
the paperwork for two other players in the deal -- Lindsey Hunter
and Chris Mills -- had yet to be completed. Wallace and James also
missed a practice Saturday before the NBA declared the trade
"final and complete."

In issuing the penalty, the NBA issued a statement Monday that
said: "In accordance with league rules, each team was informed
that none of the traded players could play with their new teams
until all conditions of the trade had been met, including the
signing of certifications by teams, players and agents involved in
the deal.

"The Pistons violated this rule by playing Wallace and James in
the first half of the game against the Timberwolves even though the
required certifications were not yet signed."

Pistons president Joe Dumars said the team wouldn't have used
Wallace and James if it knew the other teams hadn't submitted the
required paperwork.

"We are happy that this unfortunate situation is over and that
we can get back to focusing on basketball," Dumars said before
Detroit played at Philadelphia on Monday night.