Shannon Brown

18 Former NBA Players Charged For Allegedly Defrauding League’s Benefit Plan

Eighteen former NBA players face charges in New York federal court over allegations that they defrauded the NBA’s health and welfare benefit plan, according to a report from Jonathan Dienst and Tom Winter of NBC. The players each face a count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud.

As Dienst and Winter outline, the indictment alleges that these players engaged in a scheme from 2017-20 to defraud the NBA’s benefit plan by submitting false claims for dental and medical expenses that were never incurred. According to the indictment, the fraudulent claims totaled about $3.9MM, and the defendants received approximately $2.5MM in proceeds.

While none of the players who have been charged were household names, many won titles and/or had long NBA careers, and most will likely be recognizable to Hoops Rumors readers. They are as follows:

  1. Tony Allen
  2. Alan Anderson
  3. Shannon Brown
  4. Will Bynum
  5. Glen Davis
  6. Chris Douglas-Roberts
  7. Melvin Ely
  8. Darius Miles
  9. Jamario Moon
  10. Milt Palacio
  11. Ruben Patterson
  12. Eddie Robinson
  13. Greg Smith
  14. Sebastian Telfair
  15. C.J. Watson
  16. Terrence Williams
  17. Antoine Wright
  18. Tony Wroten

Williams was named in the indictment as the one who orchestrated the scheme, according to Dienst and Winter, who say the former lottery pick is accused of having recruited other participants by offering them fake invoices. He allegedly received payments totaling $230K in exchange for those fake documents, per NBC’s report.

Allen’s wife, Desiree Allen, was also charged in the indictment. As John Hollinger of The Athletic tweets, the Grizzlies had been planning to retire Allen’s number in January — they may decide to postpone their ceremony honoring the six-time All-Defensive swingman.

And-Ones: Shaq, Brown, Expansion, Antetokounmpo

Current NBA on TNT analyst and 15-time All-Star Shaquille O’Neal believes the league should cancel the rest of the season and shift its focus to next year, he said in an interview with Mike D. Sykes, II of For The Win. 

O’Neal, listing safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, explained the NBA shouldn’t rush the rest of this season or the playoffs. Instead, each of the players and teams should focus on next season.

“I think we should scrap the season,” O’Neal said. “Everybody go home, get healthy, come back next year. Just scrap the season. Just scrap it. To try and come back now and do a rush playoffs as a player? Any team that wins this year, there’s an asterisk. They’re not going to get the respect. What if a team that’s not really in the mix of things all of a sudden wins with a new playoff format? Nobody is going to respect that. So, scrap it. Worry about the safety of the fans and the people. Come back next year.”

A growing number of current NBA players remain optimistic that the season could be resurrected, including LeBron James, who tweeted as much toward the end of last month.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a call with players on Friday discussing the steps necessary for a return, including regulations on various practice facilities and what to expect for the future. For O’Neal, however, it’s clear what decision needs to be made.

“It’s hard, but kudos to Adam Silver for taking that first step and thinking about the safety of the people and the players,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the remainder of the season but I would like everybody to be safe… So however long it takes for us to get 100% back to normal, I’m willing to wait.”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA player Shannon Brown was arrested after being accused of shooting his rifle at two people who were interested in homes for sale in Atlanta last week, according to ESPN. Brown, who played nine NBA seasons and most recently spent time with Miami in 2014-15, told authorities he believed the couple was trying to break into his home. Investigators reportedly found one empty shell casing at his house, with Brown facing an aggravated assault charge due to the incident. Nobody was injured in the situation.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report examines whether it’s time for the NBA to consider expansion to ease the financial burden caused by COVID-19. The league will likely be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic for multiple seasons to come, particularly from a revenue standpoint. “The league has expanded its line of credit, and I assume teams are using it,” said salary-cap expert Larry Coon. “Here’s an opportunity to erase that debt.” 
  • Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, plans to play professionally in Europe and skip college with sights set on eventually making the NBA, according to Nikos Varlas of EuroHoops. Antetokounmpo, 18, is seeking the strongest competition possible to prepare himself for the future. “I am examining my options, I have a few choices from the States, but I have decided to play in Europe”, he said. “I want to become a pro as soon as possible. I was born and raised in Europe, I know European basketball and the best thing for me would be to sign a contract with a European club. I will have to train and compete against grown men, I will experience strong competition and pressure and I will evolve on every level.”

And-Ones: Munford, Stokes, Davis, Perkins, Brown

Former NBA guard Xavier Munford has left the Chinese Basketball Association to join the Wisconsin Herd, G League affiliate of the Bucks, the team announced this week.

Munford appeared in 34 games with the Herd last season, holding per-game averages of 24.4 points, five rebounds and 5.2 assists. He shot 50.9% from the floor and 44.4% from 3-point range during that stint, earning a two-way contract with the Bucks in January of 2018.

Munford went unsigned in free agency and agreed to a deal with the Fuijan Sturgeons this past December. He holds NBA experience with the Grizzlies and multiple summer league stints over the past few seasons, going undrafted in 2014 out of Rhode Island. NBA teams could look to Munford for a potential 10-day contract in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent Jarnell Stokes has registered interest from teams in China, a source told Hoops Rumors. The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced that Stokes, 25, left the team this week to pursue other opportunities. Stokes was waived from his two-way contract with the Grizzlies in early January after the team was faced with injuries to Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson and other wing players.
  • The Maine Red Claws have re-acquired Trey Davis, the team announced in a press release. Davis is expected to be in uniform on Friday when Maine takes on the Greensboro Swarm. Davis, a 6-foot point guard, originally made the team out of open tryouts as an undrafted guard in 2017.
  • Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Brown have become the latest ex-NBA players to sign with Ice Cube’s BIG3 league this summer, the association announced (Twitter links). Perkins, a bruising center who spent 15 seasons in the NBA, played a key role in helping the Celtics win a championship in 2008. Brown, a high-flying guard who held stints with several different teams, won two NBA championships as a member of the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/16/17

Here are the G League moves from around the Association today:

And-Ones: E. Okafor, Perkins, S. Brown, Wood

Two NBA veterans have been among the most impressive G League standouts early in the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Emeka Okafor, 35, has spent the past four years recovering from surgery on a herniated disc in his neck. He joined the Sixers for training camp and opted to stay with the organization’s affiliate in Delaware. He is averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and is shooting better than 60% from the field.

Kendrick Perkins was the Cavaliers’ final roster cut and went to Cleveland’s affiliate in Canton. He is averaging 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds through three games. He has dropped weight and may still be able to help an NBA team at age 33.

There’s more news from the NBA and the G League:

  • Today is an important day for four players who were claimed off waivers during the offseason, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The BullsDavid Nwaba and Kay Felder, the HawksNicolas Brussino and the BucksDeAndre Liggins are all now eligible to be traded.
  • The Sixers used the remainder of this year’s cap space for the renegotiation/extension with Robert Covington, leaving just eight teams with cap room, according to Marks (Twitter link). They are the Bulls [$15.1MM], Mavericks [$12.5MM], Suns [$8.9MM], Pacers [$6.1MM], Kings [$4.3MM], Nets [$3.4MM], Hawks [$589K] and Magic [$549K].
  • Veteran guard Shannon Brown has been claimed from the G League player pool by the Wisconsin Herd, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. The 31-year-old last played in the NBA in 2014, when he appeared in five games with the Heat.
  • Christian Wood has joined the Delaware 87ers as a returning player, according to Reichert (Twitter link). He played 13 games for the Hornets last year and ended the season in the G League.
  • International stars are having a greater impact on the NBA than ever before, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Many of the league’s best young players hail from overseas, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis, both considered early-season MVP candidates, along with Ben SimmonsAndrew WigginsJoel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Ziller credits former commissioner David Stern for his focus on expanding the league to overseas markets. That strategy not only created more revenue, it exposed the NBA to an international audience and created a new reservoir of players.

And-Ones: Dragic, Pelicans, Salary Cap, Brown

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told point guard Goran Dragic during a morning shootaround Thursday that rumors regarding a potential trade to the Kings were untrue, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Miami was reportedly discussing a deal in which Dragic would head to Sacramento in exchange for forward Rudy Gay and guard Darren Collison. “Spo came over and did that today,” Dragic told Winderman. “He just said those rumors, they’re not true.” Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald confirms that the Heat are not pursuing such a trade at the moment but might go after Gay in free agency next summer as a secondary option (Twitter link).
In other developments around the league:
  • E’Twaun Moore will start for the Pelicans at shooting guard entering the season ahead of lottery pick Buddy Hield, John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. Moore was one of the first unrestricted free agents to make a commitment in July, agreeing to a four-year, $34MM contract after playing a backup role with the Bulls.
  • The projected salary cap for the 2017/18 season has been slightly raised from $102MM to $103MM, sources told Brian Windhorst of (Twitter link). That will give teams a little bit more elbow room as they make roster decisions.
  • Shannon Brown has signed with the NBA D-League and will be eligible for its draft, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor tweets. The 30-year-old guard last appeared in the NBA in 2014/15, when he played five games for the Heat.
  • Swingman Jordan Hamilton has left the Turkish team Tofas Bursa after just one game, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Hamilton appeared in 11 games with the Pelicans last season. A former first-round pick, Hamilton spent his first few NBA seasons with the Nuggets, but has bounced around since 2014, spending time with the Rockets and Clippers as well as the Pelicans.

Heat Sign Hassan Whiteside, Cut Shannon Brown

8:40pm: Miami has officially signed Whiteside, the team announced in a press release, which also reveals the team has cut ties with Brown and his non-guaranteed deal to make room for the newly acquired center. Brown inked his deal with the Heat in late August but didn’t see much burn during his tenure in Miami. He averaged 17.8 minutes per night across just five contests during his time in South Beach.

8:44am: The Heat will sign D-League center Hassan Whiteside, a source tells Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), which confirms a Sunday report from Marc Stein of that the team was lining up the move. There will have to be a corresponding transaction, since the Heat are at the 15-man roster limit. Miami has non-guaranteed contracts with Shannon Brown and Andre Dawkins and more than $408K in partially guaranteed salary out to Justin Hamilton, whose partial guarantee jumps to about $612K if he’s on the roster through next Monday. Still, it’s unclear if any of those three are the players that Miami will cut to make the Whiteside signing official.

Whiteside hasn’t played in an NBA regular season game since the 2011/12 season, when he was with the Kings, but he was on the Grizzlies roster for a day last week as Memphis sought a temporary fill-in for five players who were out with stomach viruses. He’s otherwise been with the Grizzlies D-League affiliate, putting up impressive totals of 22.0 points, 15.7 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game across a small sample size of three D-League contests. The 7’0″ center has spent extensive time in the D-League during his five years as a pro as well as parts of two seasons in Lebanon. The former 33rd overall pick out of Marshall has averaged just 1.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 0.8 BPG in 5.8 MPG in 19 NBA appearances.

Miami is limited to giving just the minimum salary, though it’s unclear if the deal involves any guaranteed money. Ten-day contracts don’t start until January, but deals don’t have to be guaranteed for the season until around the same time.

Eastern Notes: Bucks, Brown, Pressey

The Pistons have an agreement on a trade with the Celtics, while they join the Pacers and Rockets with interest in taking Chase Budinger off Minnesota’s hands. The trade market is heating up as the start of the regular season draws near, and here’s more on Detroit’s rivals from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks quietly added hedge fund manager Jamie Dinan to their ownership team in July, reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dinan is a “substantial investor” in the franchise, though it’s not clear if his stake is equal to that of controlling owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. Seven additional new owners have bought shares of the Bucks, the team announced, and one of them is Jon Hammes, who was rumored to be in the running for a minority share this spring. Just how much of the team Hammes and the other new owners purchased is unknown.
  • Shannon Brown is indeed a favorite to make the Heat‘s opening-night roster in spite of his non-guaranteed deal, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Brown says team president Pat Riley has praised his athleticism, toughness and defense, as Jackson notes.
  • Phil Pressey is among a logjam of point guards in Boston with Will Bynum on the way, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge calls Pressey one of the team’s best perimeter defenders, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald relays.

Heat Rumors: 2016, Brown, Beasley, LeBron

The Heat aren’t title favorites anymore, but they remain a compelling team as the 2014/15 season approaches, with questions surrounding just how well they can play without LeBron James and whether Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can fill the superstar void. Here’s the latest from South Beach:

  • Team president Pat Riley says he isn’t planning to make moves that cut into the team’s cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, observes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. That’s when the NBA starts receiving new TV revenue and several of the contracts Miami signed this summer come off the books. The Heat have about $29.5MM in commitments for the 2016/17 season.
  • Riley praised the way Shannon Brown, who’s on a non-guaranteed deal, performed so far in training camp, as Winderman writes in a separate piece. Riley also expressed pleasure about Shawne Williams, whose addition largely assured Michael Beasley wouldn’t be back, Winderman notes. “I love Mike, but we’re moving on,” Riley said. “When [LeBron James] left, we just cleaned the table. It’s time to move on. It really had nothing to do with anything but we’re just moving in another direction, in another way, and it was nothing punitive, there was nothing bad. I wish him nothing but the best. But we decided, in the long run, Josh McRoberts and Shawne, Chris [Bosh], Chris Andersen, Udonis [Haslem] and the guys we had there, I didn’t want him to be put in the position of not playing, maybe.” An earlier report indicated that some in the Heat organization had concerns about Beasley’s defense and maturity.
  • There are also some within the Heat who are upset that James ignored many of Riley’s attempts to communicate during his free agency this summer, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Some of them believe that the four-time MVP already knew he was going to sign with the Cavs when he met with Riley shortly before announcing his decision.

Eastern Notes: Monroe, Rondo, Heat, Sixers

Greg Monroe said it wouldn’t necessarily have taken max money to convince him to sign long-term rather than take the one-year qualifying offer from the Pistons, as Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News observes. The 24-year-old added that he doesn’t feel a need to cash in whenever and wherever possible and expressed that he was apprehensive about doing so with Detroit before he and new coach/executive Stan Van Gundy become more comfortable with each other.

“It’s no disrespect to the people working here but it was just tough for me to agree to another four years with new people,” Monroe said. “Honestly, if you were to ask the average person would they do that in the arena they’re in, they’d say no.”

Monroe hopes Van Gundy won’t decide to start Andre Drummond and Josh Smith over him purely based on their respective contracts, as Goodwill also details. Monroe’s impending unrestricted free agency will be a storyline we’ll follow all season, but for now, here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Rajon Rondo and the Celtics still have to convince each other that a long-term future together is the right course of action, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said today, tweets Ben Rohrbach of Still, Ainge also said that he and Rondo have spoken about roster moves they’d like to make, Rohrbach adds in a separate tweet.
  • Shannon Brown doesn’t have a guarantee on his contract with the Heat, but he’s emerged as the favorite to serve as the primary backup for Dwyane Wade at shooting guard, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes.
  • The deal that Ronald Roberts Jr. broke off with France’s Chalon-Sur-Saone to sign with the Sixers instead was guaranteed for more money than the $35K partial guarantee that Philadelphia gave him, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media“My mindset was if I have an NBA team knocking on my door, I’ve got to take it,” Roberts said.