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Exhibition game vs. Greek team may take back seat to lawsuit: Cavaliers Insider - Oct 7, 2009

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LeBron James
By Brian Windhorst
Exhibition games are supposed to be for practice not for international incidents, but the latter is brewing in Cleveland.

Next Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers are scheduled to welcome Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus, a Greek team from the Euroleague visiting the United States on a goodwill tour. But Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus has more business than just basketball in Ohio and as wild as it may seem, there's a chance they could lose everything they bring with them from uniforms to computers to travelers' checks.

If it sounds bizarre, it is.

On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Judge Christopher A. Boyko cleared the way for old American creditors of Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus to attempt to collect more than $400,000 Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus owes to an former American player's agent from a five-year old lawsuit.The plaintiff, agent Tom McLaughlin, wants to have federal marshals seize everything they can that belongs to the club -- including any currency and perhaps even the charter jet it will fly into town.

Boyko ordered a representative from Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus to be deposed in court by Friday afternoon before he will rule whether McLaughlin can proceed with the asset seizure. Of course, a settlement could be reached before then or before Monday. Tuesday, Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus was defended by powerful local law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.

McLaughlin used to represent NBA player Chris Morris (6'8''-F-66, college: Auburn), who also played in Greece before a knee injury cut short his career. Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus cut him in 2001, owing him $1.3 million in salary and fees and McLaughlin $400,000 in fees. In separate civil cases, Morris and McLaughlin won default judgments against Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus by 2004.

The problem was, the team was in Greece and outside the jurisdiction. Until now, that is.

Olympiakos S.F.P. Pireus is one of the most competitive and richest teams outside America and got massive headlines when it signed American Josh Childress to a $20 million contract last summer. The team is owned by the billionaire Aggelopoulos brothers, who didn't own the team in 2001 when Morris was released.

No new rules, just new refs: Tuesday the Cleveland Cavaliers had their annual league referee meeting to discuss rule changes and interpretations. But this year an executive with the NBA held the meeting, as the regular referees are locked out. With the players getting used to replacement referees, players who attended said for the moment the league isn't pursuing any significant rule changes.

Last year was last year: released its annual general managers' survey Tuesday. While 69 percent of the voters picked LeBron James (6'8''-F-84) to repeat as Most Valuable Player, he wasn't one of the seven players who got votes as the league's best defensive player. James finished second to the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard in last season's Defensive Player of the Year voting. Also, last season's Coach of the Year Mike Brown was not one of the six coaches who received a vote from the GMs.

Pretty in pink: To commemorate breast cancer awareness month, James wore a pink version of his signature Nike shoes against the Bobcats

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