The Bucks have been hit with a $50K fine by the NBA, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that the club violated league rules related to the timing of player contract comments. According to Charania, the fine stems from the Bucks publicly discussing their plans to offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a super-max contract.
Antetokounmpo is not yet eligible for that five-year Designated Veteran Extension, so league rules prohibit the team from discussing it, as the NBA noted in a press release confirming the fine.
“Under NBA rules, teams cannot commit to offer a ‘super-max’ extension prior to the summer following a player’s seventh season in the NBA,” the NBA said in its statement.
The comments about a super-max deal for Giannis were made by Bucks general manager Jon Horst at a televised fan event earlier this month.
“The answer for now is that we can’t negotiate anything,” Horst said when asked about Antetokounmpo’s contract status. “So Giannis, basically a year from now will be eligible for a super-max extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a super-max extension.”
The Bucks technically violated the NBA’s circumvention rules when discussing the reigning MVP’s future, as Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights observes (via Twitter). Still, Horst’s comments are pretty innocuous. While the Bucks can’t exactly “tamper” with their own player, I wonder if the NBA is looking to draw a clear line on this sort of public statement in the wake of its introduction of new anti-tampering measures.
Bucks co-owner Wes Edens also recently told TMZ that the franchise wants to keep Antetokounmpo for “the rest of his basketball career,” but given the lack of specificity involved in that statement, it’s unlikely to run afoul of the league’s circumvention rules.