NBA Sends Teams Anti-Tampering Reminder

by December 28, 2018

The NBA sent teams a memo reminding them of its anti-tampering rule.

In the wake of LeBron James‘ public comments on the possibility of teaming up with Anthony Davis in L.A., the League felt it necessary to re-outline the consequences of tampering with rival players under contract.

The NBA warns that even though individual players can’t be punished, the “scope of the anti-tampering rule is broad.”


“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.”

The NBA warned teams that individual statements like James’ can be viewed in the context of organizational patterns and can result in punishment.

“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 memo said. “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.”

While the NBA won’t punish players for individual comments about interest of playing with another team’s player, “if there are other aggravating factors — such as sustained public recruiting or evidence that the player making such a comment is coordinating with his team — then there may be a basis for a tampering violation.”

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