Los Angeles Clippers announcer Michael Smith has pleaded not guilty to stealing $735,000 from a golfing buddy in a failed development deal.
Orange County district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami says Smith posted $25,000 bond Thursday. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5.
Smith and business partner Bruce Furst are charged with grand theft. They are accused of persuading a friend into using his home for collateral on a $735,000 loan to finance a Dana Point development deal. The market collapsed, the deal went sour and the victim is expected to lose his home.
Smith and Furst face up to five years in prison if convicted. Furst posted bail Monday.
Smith, 44, played for the Clippers and Boston Celtics before becoming a broadcaster.
Doesn't it figure? The best part of this story, from a Basketbawful perspective, is that Smith was brought up just yesterday by Cortez in the comments section...for stealing the future from the Boston Celtics.
Allow me to explain. In 1989, the Celtics had an unusually high draft pick (13) because Larry Bird had missed all but six games of the 1988-89 season due to dual Achilles surgery. This was a great opportunity for a perennial contender, since those teams are usually forced to pick someone at the end of the first round of the draft, and that someone rarely makes the team.
During his senior year at Brigham Young University, Smith had averaged 26.4 PPG and 8.6 RPG while shooting almost 53 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from downtown. Smith's success led (of course) to the inevitable "Next Larry Bird" talk. Between that and the fact that former (and beloved) Celtic Danny Ainge had also attended Brigham Young, Red Auerbach was sold.
Said Auerbach: "He's another Larry, I hope."
And you know what? Red was right. But only if he was talking about Larry from the Three Stooges. Smith was truly bawful in every sense of the word. His defense was terrible, he couldn't rebound and he found it nearly impossible to get his shot off against NBA players. Basically, he was Adam Morrison before Adam Morrison was Adam Morrison.
And now for the kicker. Here's a list of some players the Celtics overlooked in their rush to draft Smith: Tim Hardaway (14th pick), Shawn Kemp (17th), B.J. Armstrong (18th), Blue Edwards (21st), Vlade Divac (26th) and Cliff Robinson (36th). They also overlooked Dana Barros (16th) and Sherman Douglas (28th), which is meaningful only because the Celtics would later sign Barros as a free agent and trade Brian Shaw for Sherman Douglas.
Smith lasted two seasons with Boston before getting waived. And, naturally, he was picked up by the Clippers. I mean, that makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
Speaking of which, that reminded me of a Celtics-Clippers game from Smith's second (and last) season with Boston. Smith received a DNP-CD, and Larry Bird might have received a WotN entry if Basketbawful had been around back then (Bird went 3-for-9 from downtown and committed a game-high 7 turnovers).
But there was a great Bird moment where he nailed a three...then made Clipper Ken Bannister slap palms with him. Here's the video, which unfortunately didn't catch the moment live, because the L.A. crowd started cheering "Larry! Larry!" right after it happened.