NBA Local: August 16 -- Donaghy edition

Updated: August 16, 2007, 10:08 AM ET

Editor's note: ESPN.com is waking up early in the morning and aggregating news from papers around the country to bring you the latest NBA talk.

Previous Reports:
Aug. 8 | Aug. 9 | Aug. 10 | Aug. 13 | Aug. 14 | Aug. 15

DONAGHY SCANDAL

Donaghy Mess Just Gets Uglier
Now that a few weeks have passed and the initial shock has worn off, it's possible to put the Tim Donaghy scandal into proper perspective. It is even worse than it first appeared. Donaghy, a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High and Villanova University, pleaded guilty yesterday to two felony charges. And while those are serious enough charges to bring up to 25 years of prison time, they didn't cover the most egregious of Donaghy's alleged transgressions. The charges involved conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to transmit information about gambling - abuse of Donaghy's insider status to help gamblers place winning bets on NBA games. These charges did not involve point-shaving or game-fixing, which represent the most galling betrayal of public trust possible for a professional sports official. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Donaghy Has Had An Impact On Many
Who is Tim Donaghy? Is he the man known by some friends to be generous and a doting father to his four daughters? Is he the man who almost singlehandedly created a referees' clinic for developmentally challenged children at a Delaware County school? Or is Donaghy a raging madman who can't control his temper? One thing is certain. The 40-year-old Havertown native had a gambling problem. Donaghy, a former NBA referee, pleaded guilty yesterday in New York to two felony counts in a betting scandal that has rocked the NBA. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Donaghy's Plea Is Some Good News For NBA
Yesterday, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to two felony charges in a betting scandal that has the league fighting to assure fans concerned about the integrity and legitimacy of its games. Donaghy could get up to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting wagering information through interstate commerce. But more important, as far as the NBA is concerned, Donaghy didn't name any other names. He didn't say he was part of some underground betting conglomerate that featured other NBA referees, players or coaches. In essence, Donaghy confirmed, at least for the moment, what Stern said to fans worldwide a month ago - that the case was about a "rogue, isolated criminal." -- Philadelphia Daily News

In Sports, 'G' Is The Scarlet Letter
A referee, even one whose face you don't know and whose name you can't pronounce (Don-a-GEE), is the right arm of the game . . . any game. A referee probably has more opportunities to affect a single game than any manager or running back. So to say the league was worried about this Donaghy episode is a grand understatement. Having said that, Donaghy's admission of guilt might possibly be the best-case scenario for the NBA under the circumstances. The last thing the league wanted to see was a trial; presumably there won't be salacious revelations now. There won't be daily reports from the stairs outside the courtroom. There won't be a discovery process that could open one Pandora's box after another. Bad as Donaghy's admissions are, the NBA can paint him, and perhaps accurately so, as a single rogue referee who acted on his own, not in concert with any other refs and not in concert with any players. -- Washington Post

NBA Faces Laundry List Of Image Repairs
New NBA marketing spot: "I Love This Game, Especially if I Know Who is Hurt, Which Ref Hates Which Player and Who Will Be Making the Calls." Sure. Give the whole thing some Las Vegas glitz, just to show that it isn't gambling that's bad, it's bad gamblers. Got to keep that Nevada market viable. The other sneaker has yet to drop, and maybe it never will. Maybe the NBA will get off being mistrusted as a crooked sport and by Christmas, as David Stern has predicted, this will all be summer leftovers. -- Rocky Mountain News

Donaghy's Plea Doesn't Erase Doubt
Unquestionably, Donaghy's guilty plea on two felony counts Wednesday in New York that he provided inside information to gamblers will make many wonder what his motives and actions actually were over several seasons. Former Kings fan favorite and current New Orleans Hornets guard Bobby Jackson said Wednesday morning that he has done a mental check of his games involving Donaghy. "It also has to make you wonder if he was cheating, if there were other refs cheating and how many," said Jackson, who's known for jeopardizing his health by playing so hard. "This guy has disgraced the game for players and for the fans, who pay a lot of money to see a game they think is fair," Jackson said. "If we're out there playing games, and he's out there affecting the outcomes of games -- to win games for his friends and buddies -- man, I don't know what's going on." -- Sacramento Bee

Donaghy Proceedings Cause Bewilderment
It boggles my mind that Donaghy's charade went on for two years, that his frequent golf partner was a convicted bookie and that, according to the New York Post, Donaghy had been introduced to the Gambino crime family and frequently snuck off to Atlantic City to play blackjack and poker. The NBA did investigate allegations of casino gambling by Donaghy in 2005 and found nothing. It boggles my mind that a Western Conference executive told me that when word broke of an official possibly being involved in gambling, many of his peers suspected Donaghy. Why would so many others smell the trail but not the league? -- Arizona Republic

BYU Professor Calls For 'Early-Warning System'
The NBA could create an "early-warning system" to detect cheating by a referee, says a Brigham Young University professor who uses statistical models to analyze sports. Statistics professor Shane Reese said mining data about every call made by officials during games might catch one who fixes games, as did Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee who pleaded guilty Wednesday to betting on games he officiated. "I think the NBA has enough information to construct an early-warning system," Reese said. "Would one have caught Donaghy? I don't know, but the granularity of the statistics the league keeps could be used to devise such a system." -- Deseret Morning News

Donaghy Plea Shames NBA, But Won't Topple It
Donaghy's plea adds another messy chapter to a sordid scandal that has tainted the NBA this summer. Late last month, word broke that the FBI was investigating Donaghy for betting on games that he officiated, and that he communicated privileged information to a gambling ring. The news brought forth intimations that NBA games were being fixed by a corrupt official, and even NBA Commissioner David Stern, usually a hale and chipper man, was visibly shaken as he tried to explain what league officials knew and when they knew it. Donaghy's lawyer, John Lauro, told the Associated Press, "Tim is relieved that this part of the proceeding is over and we look forward to completely resolving this matter in the coming months." -- New York Sun

This Gym Rat Really Crossed The Foul Line
Donaghy is a "rat" in every sense of the word. And he managed to smear his former officiating colleagues during his pathetic plea-bargain performance. The combative ex-ref who led the league in handing out technical fouls last season was now a meek soul, a pathetic figure, barely audible, even with his court microphone turned to its highest volume for the benefit of reporters in the back. Donaghy told the judge he was on medication, anti-depressants and seeing a psychiatrist. He answered many of Judge Amon's questions with a soft "Yes, ma'am," "No, ma'am." -- New York Post

Referee Faces Tough Crowd In New Arena
In prison, Donaghy will still be able to officiate games in the yard and earn lots of extra cigarettes. In prison, Donaghy will also be able to referee football and could be a very big help to Michael Vick and the Cons when they play the Guards. In prison, Donaghy won't ever again be forced to attend a Memphis Grizzlies game. In prison, Donaghy will be subjected to threats and to vulgar language, but at least he won't have to listen to Mark Cuban. -- Chicago Tribune

NBA's Bigger Problem On Refs
Yes, the NBA's referee scandal can be traced back to a fundamental flaw in the way the league does business, a sink hole the league is advised to cover up before it sucks in another valued employee. You see, as opposed to the NFL and Major League Baseball, the NBA shields its nightly referee assignments. We see now this serves no purpose other than to provide "inside information" to guys like Donaghy and no-lifers who hang around the refs' hotels on game days. It has been reported the average number of points scored in a game reffed by Donaghy last season was 10 1/2 higher than the league average. If a gambler simply played the "over" in all games worked by Donaghy, he/she stood to make a huge profit. -- Oakland Tribune

Check out your team's news at ESPNLocal