Wallace, James played before trade cleared
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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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