BY Howie Stalwick 10:53AM 09/08/2014

World Cup ‘fix’ probe looks at use of Baynes

The decision by Australia national basketball team coach Andrej Lemonis to sit out former Washington State center Aron Baynes in the final round of group play at the World Cup would appear to figure prominently in FIBA’s decision to look into possible disciplinary action against Australia.

FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, announced Monday it is “opening disciplinary proceedings” against Australia in regard to its 91-83 loss to Angola Thursday. Playing time was limited for Australia’s regular starters, and Baynes – the team’s leading scorer and rebounder – did not play.

A FIBA press release read, “The on-court behavior displayed by Australia in that game generated huge disappointment by basketball fans and experts. It is widely suspected that Australia lost that game in order to avoid having to face the reigning world champions USA until the semifinals.”

After the loss to underdog Angola, Lemonis said he rested players to prepare for upcoming games, since Australia was already assured of advancing to the round of 16. Australia was eliminated in a 65-64 loss to Turkey in round-16 action on Sunday, when Baynes led the Aussies with 15 points and seven rebounds.

Following Australia’s loss to Angola, Slovenia guard Goran Dragic tweeted that Australia “fixed the game.” Dragic starred on the NBA’s Phoenix Suns last season. Baynes was a reserve on the NBA champions from San Antonio.


  • notaboomer

    off topic, but do you think chris hansen can buy the atlanta hawks from their racist owner and move them to seattle?

    • RadioGuy

      POSSIBLY, although it would cost lots of money. Here’s what the Athletic Business website said in May about the Hawks’ lease in Atlanta:

      “The Hawks’ lease requires them to play in Philips until $124.5 million in bonds — refinanced in 2010 — are paid off, currently scheduled to take place Dec. 1, 2028. A $75 million penalty the team would owe for paying off the bonds early and relocating from the arena is in force until 2017.”

      So you’re looking at up to $200 million to break the lease for starters, but that window is ajar. Forbes valued the Hawks at $419 million BEFORE Ballmer overpaid for the Clippers, which drove the value of every NBA franchise up. With Ballmer still in the Hansen group, a deal for the Hawks was doable. Now? I don’t know that the people remaining have the kind of money it would take.

      • art thiel

        Lease is secondary to the NBA’s resistance to moving. Especially from a big market like Atlanta.

        • RadioGuy

          You’re probably right. It’s like the NHL’s insistence on keeping a franchise in Phoenix: The number of TV sets overall is more important than the number of them tuned in to your product. The Hawks are the NBA’s version of a loss leader.

    • art thiel

      Unless the NBA has changed its extreme reluctance to move teams, no.