SBD/Issue 175/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Fines Mark Cuban $100,000 For Comments About LeBron James

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 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?" (, 5/22). In N.Y., Frank Isola wrote Cuban's comments were "rather innocuous." Cuban in the 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" (, 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).

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