Rookie John (Hot Rod) Williams and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to withdraw his National Basketball Association contract pending the outcome of the state of Louisiana's appeal of his court case, the NBA announced yesterday.
The team said the 6-foot-10 forward from Tulane meanwhile will be held out of practice.
Williams was charged with sports bribery involving point-shaving last season at Tulane, but the judge in the case declared a mistrial and said the state could not try Williams again. If the court dismissal is upheld, NBA Commissioner David Stern will decide whether Williams can play. No date has been set to hear the state's appeal . . .
The fist fights that marred the NBA exhibition season had better not carry over into the regular season, Commissioner Stern warned.
Stern said league officials would be reviewing films of Saturday night fights at two games and "will take appropriate action." New York Knicks rookie Patrick Ewing got a hyperextended and bruised left elbow in a bout with the Indiana Pacers' Steve Stipanovich. Ewing's fourth preseason scuffle, it brought his second ejection. In Los Angeles, the Celtics' Robert Parish and the Lakers' Maurice Lucas got into a pushing match that ended with Parish going over a press table. The fracas spread and Boston Coach K.C. Jones ended up at the bottom of a pile of players . . .
Boston star Larry Bird aggravated a lower back injury in practice and is uncertain for the opener Friday at New Jersey. Asked if Bird would play, trainer Ray Melchiorre replied, "Oh, yeah." Bird: "I've got nothing to say." . . .
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and six other current and former basketball stars are deep into hotel investments, it is reported in Los Angeles. They are buying the Inn of Laguna for $4 million and have bought Balboa Inn, a 13-story hotel in Birmingham, Ala., for $4.2 million; a $1.4 million Newport Beach restaurant; and a $22 million Los Angeles health club.
Abdul-Jabbar is in partnership with NBA players Ralph Sampson, Terry Cummings, Alex English, Brad Davis, former Laker Charlie Scott and Italian league player Rudy Hackett . . .
Arbitrator Billy Cunningham, the former Philadelphia 76ers coach, has ruled that forward Truck Robinson officially is retired, meaning the New York Knicks can apply only half of his salary last season to the salary cap, the NBA announced. If Robinson were declared an active free agent, the Knicks could have used his reported $540,000 salary to bid for another player -- perhaps forward Albert King of the New Jersey Nets.