May 28, 2010, 3:33 PM EDT
NBA owners and executives are now treating the words “LeBron James” like they would treat the Hantavirus — staying the hell away from it.
Not the player, they all want to talk to him and sell him on why he needs to come to their fair town. But before July 1 they are afraid to say even the words in the presence of a media member because David Stern is handing out tampering fines like a rib joint hands out moist towelettes. Mark Cuban has $100,000, and Hawks owner Michael Gearon got fined $25,000 for having the temerity to say he’d go over the luxury tax line to get LeBron. Crazy. Stern might fine Mikhail Prokhorov $50,000 for just looking at LeBron.
However, Dwyane Wade can say he plans to talk to LeBron — and Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson — and the league will do nothing, according to our own Ira Winderman, writing or the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“We understand that players talk and interact with each other all the time and there’s no real way to regulate that,” he said. “We therefore reserve discipline only for the most egregious player tampering cases.”
Um, the four biggest free agents on the market getting together to talk about their plans with each other isn’t egregious? I’m curious where the NBA chooses to draw that line.
What would be really interesting to hear is that conversation, but like the owners the players will soon stop talking all together. They’re smart enough to do that without fines.