Lebron James recent comments regarding his thoughts on potentially playing with New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis stokes the long-simmering fires of rumours of Davis joining the Lakers.
It is also a clear case of tampering.
As stated in Article 35A of the NBA constitution, “No person may, directly or indirectly, entice, induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association.
I’m layman’s terms, if you are on a team’s payroll, be it on the court or in an office, you cannot talk about players that are on other teams that you want to acquire.
The Lakers and Magic Johnson should be no stranger to the specter of tampering. Just last year, the franchise was levied with a $500,000 fine for tampering due to general manager Rob Pelinka contacting Paul George’s agent. This contact came on the heels of the team being previously warned following President of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s comments in relation to George on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Even though AD seemed to brush off the obvious overtures from Lebron, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has reported that several small-market general managers are upset that the NBA has seemingly decided not to enforce their tampering rules. They feel the league’s silence on the matter is “tacit endorsement of James’ comments” and frankly they have a point.
One Eastern Conference GM having this to say to the four letter network:
It’s New Orleans’ problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us. It’s open season on small markets and our players.”
A Western Conference GM voiced his dissatisfaction to ESPN saying:
If these are the rules, enforce them. If you want to push Anthony Davis in L.A., if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say, ‘It’s the wild, wild west and anything goes.
“But give us a list of the rules that you’re enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you’re going to ignore.”
Lost in all of the ballyhoo over LeBron’s remarks about Anthony Davis was the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo did the same thing in an even more overt fashion the next day. After the Bucks 123-115 victory over Davis’ Pelicans, Antetokounmpo approached Davis as he was talking to a group of family and/or friends and said, “come to the Bucks, man.” Both players sharing a hearty laugh and a handshake does disguise what this was- another tampering situation.
Will the NBA do anything about this? It seems doubtful.