Before pleading guilty in August, Donaghy, 41, who had worked in the league for 13 years, admitted he traded inside information on games in 2006 and 2007 for cash payments from James Battista and Thomas Martino, friends of his from high school.

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NEW YORK — U.S. District Judge Carol Amon gave disgraced ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy points, and probably some time off, for his cooperation with federal authorities. But Tuesday, the judge sentenced Donaghy to 15 months in federal prison for wire fraud and transmitting betting information because he was “the central figure in the scheme.”

In disclosing the sentence, which included an additional three years of probation, Amon added, “Without Mr. Donaghy, there was no scheme.”

Before pleading guilty in August, Donaghy, 41, who had worked in the league for 13 years, admitted he traded inside information on games in 2006 and 2007 for cash payments from James Battista and Thomas Martino, friends of his from high school.

Donaghy will be required to serve at least 12 months.

The Drexel Hill, Pa., native, who could have received up to 33 months under federal sentencing guidelines, was told to surrender Sept. 23. His attorney, John Lauro, requested Donaghy be allowed to serve the sentence in a federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla.

Amon agreed to make that recommendation, noting she does not make that decision. Donaghy was recently divorced, but his four daughters live in Florida.

Donaghy also has to pay the league restitution of slightly less than $100,000 for games where he didn’t deliver “honest services.” As part of the restitution, he was ordered to pay 15 percent of his “net disposable income” during his three years on probation.

Before the sentencing, Donaghy was asked by the judge if he had anything he wanted to say. “I’m very sorry for the actions that brought shame upon myself, my family, and the profession I loved,” he said, standing in front of the judge, his arms folded.

At that point, Donaghy’s voice caught for a moment.

“I’m trying to turn my life around,” Donaghy said quietly.

He later showed no visible emotion after the sentence was announced.

There was some hope in the Donaghy camp he might receive a slightly lighter sentence than the other two men sentenced last week for their roles in the betting schemes, because he was the only defendant to cooperate with investigators. But Battista also received 15 months in prison, and Martino was sentenced to a year and a day. Both will also be on probation for three years.

Amon said Donaghy’s admission that he also helped another Delaware County, Pa., man, Jack Concannon, with betting information before Battista and Martino ever approached him factored into the sentence.

Donaghy’s attorney said his client showed integrity in owning up to his mistakes. “He told it all — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Lauro said. “He had to do it because it was the right thing to do. … The bottom line is that Mr. Donaghy has been a model cooperator.”

But the judge focused on his earlier lack of integrity. “In terms of maintaining the integrity of the sport of NBA basketball, his job was critical,” Amon said, talking about how his job was to uphold the rules of the league, “not one compromised by a financial interest in the very games he was officiating.”

The judge did not bring up Donaghy’s assertions in court filings that games had been affected by the actions of other officials or that the integrity of playoff games was undermined by the league’s desire to have longer playoff series.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg acknowledged Donaghy did cooperate with prosecutors, but questioned some statements by Lauro about the extent of his cooperation, particularly in one area — that he was willing from the start to cooperate with the NBA. Goldberg said attorneys for the league denied that suggestion.

Sources: Rockets might acquire Artest

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets are close to an agreement to acquire forward Ron Artest from the Sacramento Kings, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The Rockets will give up guard Bobby Jackson, who played for the Kings from 2000 to 2005, and another player — likely rookie forward Donte Greene, according to two league sources who confirmed the deal but spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

Artest’s long-anticipated move from Sacramento probably can’t be announced yet because Greene, acquired by the Rockets on draft night last month, signed a contract with Houston on July 14.

A player can’t be traded within 30 days of signing a contract, according to league rules.

The Kings confirmed that the teams had spoken about Artest, 28, who averaged 20.5 points last season.


• The Charlotte Bobcats ended a year of uncertainty with forward-center Emeka Okafor, 25, by coming to terms on a six-year, $72 million deal with the restricted free agent. Okafor averaged 13.8 points and 10.7 rebounds last season, the fourth consecutive season he has averaged a double-double.

• Forward Luol Deng, 23, and the Chicago Bulls have agreed on a six-year contract worth more than $70 million, reported, citing league front-office sources.

Deng averaged 17 points last season.

• Philadelphia signed guard Kareem Rush, 27, who averaged 8.3 points for the Indiana Pacers last season. Rush reportedly will make about $1 million this season.

• New York waived forward Bobby Jones, 24, and guard Taurean Green, 21, a day after getting them in a trade that sent Renaldo Balkman, 24, to Denver. Jones is a former Washington Husky.