by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

When the NBA lockout began, it was reported that front-office execs had been warned that they could face fines of up to $1 million for speaking out of turn about the work stoppage.

So far, no one has said anything dumb (or honest) enough to warrant such a punishment, but Miami Heat owner Micky Arison came pretty damn close.

Last weekend, when taking a break from shamelessly promoting his cruise ship, Arison used his Twitter feed to answer fan questions about why NBA business has been halted, and the League decided he’d been a little too forthcoming.

Arison got a financial slap on the wrist five times bigger than the one Michael Jordan did for blabbing about the lockout.

Yahoo! Sports has details on the heavy fine:

The NBA fined Miami Heat owner Micky Arison $500,000 on Monday for recent comments he made on Twitter that violated the league’s censure on speaking publicly about the lockout, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The fine is one of the largest for an individual in NBA history.

NBA commissioner David Stern came down hard for what was a clear undermining of the league’s selling point that the owners are united on demanding sweeping and unprecedented financial givebacks from the Players Association. While the union has long believed there are severe splits between big- and small-market owners, this was the first public sentiment from such a high-ranking NBA official confirming it. … The response clearly fortified the belief Arison is part of a more moderate group of owners, mostly from big markets, who don’t share the opinion of the majority of hardliners who think the NBA needs to keep the players locked out to achieve financial concessions.

Whatever divisions may exist between the League’s team owners — and you can be sure that there are — we’ll likely be kept in the dark about them going forward. Because even though these guys are billionaires, $500k has to sting, even a little bit.