- LeBron James said it would be “amazing” to play with Anthony Davis on the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Some NBA teams were mad over what they deemed the NBA’s refusal to police tampering, according to ESPN.
- One NBA GM told ESPN that if James’ comments were allowed, it would become “open season” on small-market teams’ star players.
- The NBA told ESPN that without evidence that James’ comments were team-directed, it would be hard to call it tampering.
Some NBA teams were not happy with LeBron James’ comments on the possibility of Anthony Davis joining the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
On Monday, before playing the Brooklyn Nets, James said it would be “amazing” and “incredible” if Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans’ big man, ended up on the Lakers.
According to Wojnarowski, some teams have expressed “outrage” over what they deem the NBA’s refusal to enforce tampering rules.
An Eastern Conference GM told Wojnarowski: “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.”
According to Wojnarowski, the league’s rules state that a player “who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade” another member of the NBA who is under contract with another team, should be charged with tampering and given the opportunity to “answer to such charges.”
But Wojnarowski followed up with a statement from the NBA. According to the league, there was no evidence the team directed James’ comments. Therefore, it was not deemed tampering.
An NBA spokesman tells ESPN: “Each case is assessed on its own facts. In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team’s player.” https://t.co/6hEIyW3qBi
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 21, 2018
In essence: it’s ok for James to complement other players or express a desire to play with them.
The NBA’s enforcement tampering rules have been criticised before, as many members of the NBA world say that it happens behind the scenes all of the time.
The Lakers, in particular, have been hit hard for tampering. Team president Magic Johnson was found to have been tampering with Paul George in 2017, and the Lakers were fined $US500,000. The NBA again fined the Lakers $US50,000 for tampering when Johnson praised Giannis Antetokounmpo in an interview.
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