Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford cops $10k fine for referee comment

Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford has paid the price for singling out the referee he doesn’t want to meet in the NBL play-offs.

The NBL has fined Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford $10,000 after he sensationally name-dropped the referee he hoped wouldn’t oversee the Kings’ playoff series against the Illawarra Hawks.

“I just hope we don’t have Chris (Reid),” Buford said after the Kings’ loss to the Hawks on Sunday.

An NBL spokesperson told News Corp on Monday that the league was in the process of reviewing Buford’s comment and on Thursday night, it handed down its findings.

Citing “multiple breaches of the NBL Code Of Conduct”, the league hit Buford with the biggest fine of NBL22 to date.

The coach will serve a one-game suspension next season as additional punishment.

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Illawarra Hawks coach Brian Goorjian, widely regarded as one of the greatest coaches in NBL history, was among those to criticize Buford in the aftermath of the incident.

In the lead-up to Friday’s semi-final opener, Buford expressed remorse for his actions.

He said targeting Reid was “an immature thing to do”.

“I understand if (Goorjian) didn’t respect the way I acted the other day … I didn’t respect the way (I behaved),” he said.

“I’ve got to find a way to not get into a personal battle with officials or anyone else and just focus on our team.

“(It’s) another growth moment for me.”

For breaching the NBL’s code of conduct during the loss to Illawarra, Sydney big man Xavier Cooks has also been fined $2,000.

Buford only joined the Kings this season but has already developed a troublesome relationship with Reid, who was named NBL Referee of the Year last season.

Earlier this year, Reid was one of the referees who officiated the game in which Cooks was ejected for unsportsmanlike and tech fouls.

The Kings led the Brisbane Bullets by 15 points at the time of Cooks’ ejection but went on to lose the game and slump to their fourth-straight defeat.

After the Kings defeated the South East Melbourne Phoenix in February, Buford said he felt as though referees Reid, Mitch Hare and Nathan Durant were “messing with (him)” and trying to entice him into conceding a tech foul.

After the Kings’ game against bitter rivals Illawarra on Sunday, Buford praised the referees.

“I thought Vaughan (Mayberry) and Ruben (Woolcock) did a really good job managing that tough game to referee,” Buford said.

“Those two were really up for the challenge tonight. Our teams don’t like each other, there’s no love lost on the court.”

Mayberry was named Referee of the Year at Wednesday night’s NBL Awards.

The Kings finished the NBL regular season in third place and will meet the Hawks in Wollongong for the first match of their playoff series on Friday.

For the other semi-final match-up, Melbourne United will meet the NBL’s newest franchise the Tasmania JackJumpers, who ousted the Perth Wildcats to finish the regular season in fourth place.

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