Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 9/19/12

Former Austin Toros forward Lance Thomas, who was signed by the New Orleans Hornets last season, has settled his lawsuit with jeweler Rafaello & Co., according to a report in USA Today.

Thomas, who played with the Toros for the better part of two seasons, apparently owed nearly $70,000 to the jeweler for a purchase he made during his senior season at Duke.

"We have reached a settlement," Mike Bowers, the attorney for Raefello & Co., wrote in an email to theNews & Observer. "I cannot make further comment."   According to the suit, Thomas made a $30,000 down payment and was supposed to pay the remaining balance of $67,800 within 15 days of the transaction that occurred in December of 2009. Nearly four months later, the Blue Devils won their fourth national title under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Several questions about how Thomas was able to afford original cash down payment and how he was given the credit line have arisen since report of the lawsuit became public.  While the jeweler has said he has no pans to talk to the NCAA and there is no active investigation, the 2010 National Title Duke won while Thomas played under Coach K could be at risk if somehow Duke was found to be involved, however any type of foul play is only speculation at this point.   Regardless, the settlement will likely take a big chunk out of Thomas' 2012-13 salary, reported to be around $762,000, if the Hornets exercise their team option on the forward, which is a likely scenario after Thomas' summer league play and selection to the US Select Team during the US National Team's training camp.
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