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NBA Fines Cuban $100,000 For LeBron
James Comments During CNNMoney Interview
The NBA Saturday fined Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban $100,000 after he "violated the league's anti-tampering rules" with his recent comments on CNNMoney.com about his desire to land upcoming free agent F LeBron James, according to Jeff Caplan of ESPN DALLAS. Cuban "confirmed the fine through his Twitter account shortly before the league announced its punishment." NBA rules "prohibit team officials from commenting on potential free agents until the market opens on July 1." Caplan wrote the NBA "more or less slapped Cuban on the wrist considering he and the club faced a maximum fine" of $5M. Meanwhile, the league also fined Suns President of Basketball Operations & GM Steve Kerr $10,000 "for comments he made regarding James on a radio show on May 14," when he "joked that he would like to sign James for the mid-level exception." Kerr said, "About five-and-half million, I think he'll take it. Don't you think?" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 5/22). In N.Y., Frank Isola wrote Cuban's comments were "rather innocuous." Cuban in the CNNMoney.com interview said "anybody" would be interested in acquiring James, who becomes a free agent on July 1. Cuban added that he "would look into bringing James to Dallas via a sign-and-trade since the Mavs don't have the salary cap space to sign him outright" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/23).
LAY OFF A LITTLE: In Dallas, Eddie Sefko wrote Cuban is "guilty," but "so are a lot of other NBA executives (and players) when it comes to talking about LeBron James or other free agents who technically won't be on the market until July 1." Sefko: "This is one of the reasons why the NBA needs to rethink its rules when it comes to people talking about free agents" (DALLASNEWS.com, 5/21). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said before the fine was levied, "I don't think he should be fined because what he said is just totally logical. Anybody would like to have LeBron James." Denver Post columnist Woody Paige: "I think an owner who doesn't say that LeBron James should be on his team should be fined for being stupid." L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke: "How can David Stern fine anybody for tampering in the LeBron James thing when actually, David Stern has already tampered with LeBron James earlier in the postseason. He came out and said he wants him to stay in Cleveland" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/21). In Orlando, Mike Bianchi wrote of the fines, "Good grief, doesn't the league have anything better to do?" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/22).
Ted Leonsis on Friday said that the NHL "is in better financial shape than the NBA," which the Capitals owner said that he realized "after reviewing the NBA's financials in preparation for his purchase of the Wizards." Leonsis contends the NHL "has a CBA in place that protects owners from taking stupid pills." He added, "There is a hard (salary) cap in the NHL. In the NBA, you can spend a lot of money, and every dollar you're over this luxury tax, you get fined. And there's a lot of basketball teams who are losing a lot of money, and it's the problem with sports" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 5/21).
DOWN A FEW STROKES: Golfer Jason Day won this weekend's PGA Tour HP Byron Nelson Classic by two strokes over Brian Gay, Jeff Overton and Blake Adams, and GOLF.com's Alan Shipnuck wrote the tournament has "become B-list at best" since Byron Nelson's death in '06. SI's Gary Van Sickle contends the tournament's "woes are directly tied to the Players and Wachovia moving to May, thus turning the succeeding weeks into the new Dead Zone." Author Art Stricklin: "PGA Tour tournaments truly go in cycles. Just eight years ago, there was no event at Quail Hollow, and the Byron Nelson was a powerhouse, attracting the top five players in the world at the time. Now Quail Hollow is a powerhouse, and the Byron Nelson is at low ebb" (GOLF.com, 5/23).
NICE SERVICE GAME: The AP's Steven Wine reported the nonprofit Global Tennis Legacy Foundation "was launched Saturday on the eve of the French Open with plans to operate by next year in at least 10 countries." The goal of the organization is to "provide advice to young players in such areas as training, contracts, finances and medical care." Former Grand Slam champions Juan Carlos Ferrero, Albert Costa and Hana Mandlikova are involved in the project. The GLTF was "started by Chris Vermeeren, a Dutch marketing consultant who worked for Nike for 17 years," and it "will work with youngsters aspiring to become pros, and also those hoping to land a college scholarship" (AP, 5/22).
LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL: SI.com's Peter King believes the Anthony Galea scandal will "touch a lot of people, and a lot of teams, in the NFL before it's all over." King: "The next PED crisis in the NFL is HGH, and we'd all be naive to think scores of players in the NFL aren't using HGH, knowing there's no reliable way to test for it" (SI.com, 5/24).