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10:14 AM Sat, Jan. 19th

Stoudemire took money in high school, suit claims

PHOENIX (AP) – Amare Stoudemire, the NBA's 2003 Rookie of the Year, accepted travel money and expenses from an agent while still in high school, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

The Phoenix Suns forward apparently is in the clear as far as administrative sanctions.

But Robert Gadson, the National Basketball Players Association's director of security and agent administration, said Thursday that agent John Wolf could face action by the union depending on the results of an investigation.

"Our rules stipulate that an agent cannot give an athlete anything of value until that athlete has signed a standard player-agent contract with him," Gadson said.

"That's basically the extent of our rules.

The athlete, if he's an amateur, is not under the regulation of the players association at that point."

Stoudemire, a member of the U.S.

Olympic team, is training for the Summer Games in California and could not be reached for comment.

Bill Duffy, his current agent, did not return a phone call to his office Thursday.

Wolf sued in U.S.

District Court in Minnesota in October, contending he had a repayment agreement with Stoudemire, but had only received back $10,000 of the $206,069 he doled out between Oct.

1, 2001, and Jan.

3, 2003.

Stoudemire's lawyers responded that the player didn't make other payments because the NBPA expected Wolf to work through its arbitration process, and Gadson told Wolf in a letter dated Jan.

21 that the union's Disciplinary Committee was looking into possible violations of providing money to an NBA rookie and bypassing the arbitration process by suing Stoudemire instead.

Gadson declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

A Minnesota judge granted Wolf's motion for default judgment in February, a year after Stoudemire and Wolf parted ways.

That allowed the agent to begin garnishing Stoudemire's wages – a total of $54,915 from two paychecks in May.

The Suns are holding the funds, and U.S.

District Judge Earl Carroll stayed the default order on May 17, finding that Stoudemire's claim was plausible – that he ignored payment demands because he thought the union was forcing Wolf into arbitration.

Carroll also held that Stoudemire faces greater risk of "irreparable harm" than Wolf, who has recourse to garnishment again if the case goes against Stoudemire.

The lawsuit alleges that Wolf paid Stoudemire $121,909 of the total in cash advances for hotels, flights, car rentals and other expenses between Oct.

1, 2001, and April 24, 2002, while the 6-foot-10 forward was a senior at Orlando (Fla.) Cypress Creek High School.

Of that total, $105,590 was made before Stoudemire signed his agent-client contract with Wolf.