The NBA has sent a memo to teams to remind them of the league’s anti-tampering rule, an apparent reaction to LeBron James’ comments last week in which he openly talked about the Lakers trading for Pelicans star Anthony Davis, ESPN.com reported Friday, citing a copy of the memo it obtained.
In the letter, the NBA says, in part, “employment contracts are to be respected and conduct that interferes (with) contractual relationships is prohibited.”
Several unidentified NBA general managers reportedly expressed frustration last week that the league didn’t intervene after James’ comments regarding Davis. (When asked about trade rumors surrounding Davis and the Lakers, James told reporters, “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”)
The GMs, said to be from small markets, told ESPN that they reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to tell him they believe the Lakers star was tampering.
James’ remarks and the reaction around the league were fodder for several news cycles, something the NBA pointed to in its anti-tampering memo:
“This principle is particularly important in today’s media environment, where any actions or comments relating to potential player movement receive immediate and widespread public attention. Teams should be entitled to focus their efforts on the competition this season with the players they have under contract, without having to divert attention or resources to conduct or speculation regarding the potential destinations of those players in future seasons once their contracts expire.”
ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who obtained the memo, offered a pointed translation of it: “Knock it off w/ Anthony Davis.”
NBA bylaws governing players state: “Any Player who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any Player, Coach, Trainer, General Manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services shall, on being charged with such tampering, should be given an opportunity to answer to such charges after due notice and the Commissioner shall have the power to decide whether or not the charges have been sustained …”
One Eastern Conference GM told ESPN: “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.”