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NBA lowers the boom on Cuban for tampering comments about LeBron James

May 22, 2010, 4:41 PM EDT

Mark Cuban can’t be surprised he was fined today, but nonetheless, he’ll be feeling a frown on his face when he gets the bill.

Less than two days after word broke that Mark Cuban had told CNN Money that the Mavericks would be interested in James if he were to opt-out and enter free agency (which, you know, he will), the league has responded. Players and league personnel are prohibited from talking about players under contract, and as of now, James is still a Cavalier. And so the league has lowered the hammer, delivering a $100,000 fine to the Mavericks owner for his comments.

$100,000. Dollars. It’s not the $200,000 he received for rushing onto the court against the Spurs or the $250,000 he received for his comments about the 2006 Finals, but it’s not far behind.

In comparison, Suns GM Steve Kerr was fined $10,000 for his comments on radio earlier this week.

The $100,000 comes on the heels of a lawsuit against Cuban’s Dallas Basketball LLC by a minority owner for insolvency. It also comes on the heels of news that Dirk Nowitzki plans to opt-out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

Not the best week for the man, even if he is a billionaire.

It’s understandable why the league took the action, given their strict adherence to the rules, and the importance of respect for teams who are vulnerable to departing free agents. At the same time… come on. Everyone knows James will be on the open market. Cuban didn’t say “If LeBron becomes a free agent, I’ll make him a king like a pharaoh and do anything he wants. Literally anything.” He simply stated that the Mavericks would be in a position to offer a sign and trade, which they would be.

Kind of a lot for an owner being honest.

  1. Youno - May 22, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Guess we all know the extent or understanding of right from wrong of Matt in his diatribe on wrist slap received by Cuban. Great example, pal.

  2. Jimc - May 22, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    The NBA sucks- they fine an owner for saying what any owner would say because they don’t like Cuban. The game sucks- it’s like football without pads- everybody palms the ball- most players travel on every shot- it’s not basketball.

  3. michael - May 22, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    bad move throwing out the insane figure of 100 grand for a simple statement any owner could make over dinner. this just makes david stern look greedy (more overtly than usual) and the nba a farce out of touch with reality

  4. Lakers4Lyfe - May 22, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    If Phil Jackson said this, Matt would say its not enough and fine him more … Remember, this is the same writer who called for Jackson to be suspended (from playoffs) for jokingly insinuating the Suns’ Steve Nash carries the ball. I personally hope the Lakers just stop giving press conferences before and after games.

  5. Richard Click - May 22, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    Stern is an “a..”, I would never buy a ticket or support a team financially because of the “franchise”, what ever happen to honest American basketball?
    Can’t stand up when a fellow player get physically hurt on the floor?
    Can’t voice an opinion? There’s probably a “book” on what’s not allowed. it will be a grand day when Stern is not the head anymore.

  6. Sean - May 22, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    Agreed. Since the departure of Bird, Magic, Jordan, etc. and the arrival of the likes of Iverson and R. Wallace, the NBA has been pathetic. Amazingly, it still seems to get worse with every passing year. League needs some serious soul-searching to get their product back up to the level where general sports fans want to watch. James could be the ‘one’ to do it. He’s amazing. Hey NBA stars, smile every once in a while when you make a shot, instead of the scowl or warrior’s grimace (your playing a game, not engaged in mortal combat).

  7. guru - May 22, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Cuban’s problem is he is not jewish like majority of NBA ownwers and offisials.

  8. tom - May 22, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    NBA – Nothing But Attorneys.

  9. maxmav - May 22, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    By the way…Cuban is Jewish. Maybe not a practicing Jew…but he is Jewish.

  10. jeff - May 22, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    Fine $100K for stating the obvious – wow.

  11. Mike - May 22, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Can Tiger shoot hoops? He is in all other respects
    qualified to be an NBA player.

  12. Ron - May 22, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    Matt Moore cries and bleeds for multi-billionaire Mark Cuban…what misguided allegiance. This writer boggles the mind.
    Last I heard, Cuban was worth over $5 billion. Let’s see, $100,000 divided by $5 billion…is .002 percent. In other words, if I had $50,000 in the bank (I wish), my fine would be $1.
    For some reason, I think Mark Cuban is laughing at David Stern.

  13. David - May 23, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    David Stern is an a**. If he CONTACTED LBJ, that is one thing. He made a comment. Your stupid “Im God” rules are getting old.

  14. Anonymous - May 23, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    when hasnt stern been greedy? that would make the news reels all over :)

  15. SDR - May 23, 2010 at 1:37 AM

    Absolute BS, this whole country has gone to $hi*…to hell with free speech..etc and so on.

  16. Theo - May 23, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    He has too much power and no one knows how much money he makes. He does what ever make him feel good and he is not ratinal in his decision. His decisions seems to be in his best interest and at the expense of those subjected their too.

  17. Anonymous - May 23, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    So what happens if he refuses to pay the fine? Literally. Just says, sorry Stern, you’re never seeing a dime. Sue me, or better yet, I’ll sue you, it is a matter of free speech, and your “tampering” rule violates my constitutional right to free speech. Who’d win then?
    Separate note though: Cuban clearly sent a message to LeBron and the Cavs, and 100-grand is a cheap price to pay for the publicity it generated and the message it delivered. Don’t think for a minute Cuban doesn’t know what he paid for… he got his money’s worth.

  18. Rosario Orozco - May 23, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Cuban should send it all in pennies to stern’s office; along with an illegal cuban and a cuban sandwich (with mustard) F Stern

  19. kevink - May 23, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    Anonymous got it right. Cuban got his message to Lebron and demonstrated that Stern is the bad guy who heads this monarchy all for 100K.

  20. DK Anderson - May 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    “Tampering?” For saying what most any owner in the league and most any fan would say, that a team would love to have Lebron? Riiiiiight…
    Stern is a blight.

  21. Lamb - May 23, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    I felt the comments by Cuban were just comments. But since they came out, our president states, for punlic record that he see’s Lebron as a good fit for Chicago. Should this also be a fine for tampering? Just thinking in writing.

  22. WIZARD OF OZOLA - May 24, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    Stern, pathetic short little man who has short dick disease. Napoleontic complex(Like Stalin and Hitler) and is a megamaniac who thinks he is in a time warp of 200 years when he was a slave plantation owner. As a lawyer , he is an ambulance chaser, making mountains out of anthills. The guy has past his prime 10 years ago, and should have be replaced by the board , but he has dirt on several owners and uses that info to stay, collecting $ 20 million a year. He cut 300 jobs last year in the front office and in China but didn’t take a salary cut of one dime ! I hope his rabbi is screwing his wife ! hahahah

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