NBA Issues Memo Reminding Teams Of Tampering Rules

The NBA has issued a memo to all 30 of its teams, reminding them about the rules – and warning them of the consequences – related to tampering, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league’s statement to clubs indicates that “employment contracts are to be respected and conduct that interferes with contractual employment relationships is prohibited.”

The memo is presumably a response to last week’s mini-controversy, which arose after Lakers star LeBron James said it would be “amazing” to play with Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. As Wojnarowski detailed last Friday, the NBA’s lack of response to those comments upset several general managers around the league, especially those in smaller markets. Among those GMs, there’s a perception that the NBA turns a blind eye to tampering violations when big-market teams go after smaller-market stars.

An NBA spokesperson issued a statement to Woj last week to explain why the league didn’t view James’ comments as tampering. Still, it seems the league office found it necessary to further clarify its tampering-related rules as speculation about a possible Davis trade continues.

“Teams should be aware that the scope of the anti-tampering rule is broad, and its application in any given case is based on all facts and circumstances,” the NBA’s memo reads, per Wojnarowski. “Accordingly, conduct that doesn’t violate the rule in any single instance may nevertheless constitute a violation if it becomes repeated or part of a broader collection of improper actions. Teams should therefore refrain from any conduct – including public statements – that could be viewed as targeting or expressing interest in another team’s player.”

The league also warned that respecting other teams’ contracts with players is particularly important in “today’s media environment,” since public comments speculating about potential player movement receive “immediate and widespread” attention and coverage.

“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,” the NBA said in its memo.

newest oldest

31 thoughts on “NBA Issues Memo Reminding Teams Of Tampering Rules

    • Codeeg

      Then blowing it out of the water because hey that’s something they can write about. ESPN and every media member wants to cover Lebron.

    • yoyo137

      Thank you!!! Like when they asked Jr. Smith if he wanted to get traded and he said yeah. Don’t let them ask that question if you don’t want the answer!!

  1. goldenmisfit

    This was the NBA pacifying those little whiny general managers of those small-market teams. Apparently it was OK when Yana’s from Milwaukee did it but not OK when LeBron from Los Angeles did it. Here is where it gets even funnier, if you read the tampering rules it clearly states players are permitted to discuss other contracted players. The tampering rule is mainly in place for coaches as well as front office executives. The bottom line is these general managers are afraid that they are stars are going to want to play with LeBron. What scares the most is it seems every time a star leaves a team to go and play with LeBron they win a championship. There is really nothing the small-market teams can do to stop these players from leaving for the bright lights of either New York or Los Angeles so they feel they need to constantly bug the league with their whining and crying. These little market teams need to realize they can offer their players the most money but to some of these players winning is more important than money.

  2. Ptn18

    The league is aware that tampering is the only way the Lakers can get free agents. They are aware that when/if the Pelicans trade AD, they will need a center in return. Okafor is not an NBA starter. The Lakers won’t have a center to trade. It is also known that the Pelicans are enamored with Jayson Tatum. And it’s been known the Celtics have been saving assets for the sole purpose of going after AD when he becomes available. Go Celtics.

    • goldenmisfit

      LOL! Obviously a Celtics fan and being you are a Celtics fan you should know that Jason Tatum is off limits especially for a one-year rental. People close to D have said he wants to go out west so if you trade for him and give a premium assets it’s for only one year. This is something Danny Ainge has publicly said he will not do.

    • Ptn18

      You don’t work with/for Danny Ainge. You don’t know what you are talking about. There has been an article out They only show Laker stuff here) about how Ainge has been saving assets for AD. P.S. LeBron has lost 6 championships. Danny will trade Horford, Tatum, picks whatever it takes to get AD. Kyrie and AD are close friends and have already talked to each other about playing together. They played together in the last FIBA Championships.

      • Ptn18

        Since Kobe retired LeBron is the first major free agent the Lakers have been able to sign. Magic has had to pay 2 tampering fines in the last 2 seasons.

  3. Black Ace57

    I like how when GMs admit to tanking they never get a warning. How many times has Mark Cuban been fined for similar things? I support players in their right to leave teams when their contracts are up, but the things players have been getting away with the past few years are unacceptable. Adam Silver needs to do a lot better at this.

    • yoyo137

      They literally sent out a memo because of the Mark Cuban thing. If you consider this memo a warning, then the other memo has to be considered a warning too, no?

  4. goldenmisfit

    I agree 100% with the person who said there should be a rule that reporters cannot ask those questions. Because if LeBron answer is it everyone is screaming tampering if he said no comment or I can’t comment on that everyone would scream he is refusing to talk to the media and should be fine. But what I find the funniest of all of this small-market team players have done the exact same thing that LeBron dead and no one said a word.

    • Adam37

      You can’t make a rule barring reporters from asking certain questions…it would not be enforceable because of a thing called the 1st Amendment

      • goldenmisfit

        Exactly! So don’t get on a player when he is just answering a question.

      • Harwood

        The 1st Amendment applies to government restriction of speech, not a private institution who holds the right to refuse access to anyone at any time for any reason they so desire.

        If the 1st amendment applied to the reporters here, then that actually would make the NBA’s entire “tampering” policy illegal because it is also restriction of speech. But it isn’t. The NBA can do what they want.

  5. Matt M

    The only way that you could bar the question is if the NBA was employing the reporters, they are not

    • Harwood

      They can restrict access to any reporters they desire. They can’t stop them asking questions in the streets of course, but they can certainly pull press passes of anyone they choose.

  6. GreenBay astros

    If these players would just “shut up and dribble” there would be no issue

Leave a Reply