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Woodson says ‘legally, no one can recruit anyone’ in response to Melo-Bulls talk. But that’s not necessarily true.

Mar 7, 2014, 3:23 PM EST

Mike Woodson, Carmelo Anthony AP

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has enough to worry about, including whether he’ll even be employed by the team next season, before he can begin to think about what Carmelo Anthony may choose to do as a potential free agent this summer.

The latest rumor, of course, had Anthony being told by the Bulls’ Joakim Noah that Chicago should be his destination of choice if winning a ring is truly what it’s all about.

Woodson was asked to address the report, and said he believed that if that conversation had taken place, it would be a violation of league rules.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

“You know legally, nobody can recruit anyone,” Woodson said in a radio appearance on ESPN 98.7. “You can’t do that at this point. Melo is still wearing a Knicks uniform and I hope he stays with the Knicks for the rest of his career. So whatever was said between Noah and the Chicago Bulls, that’s on them.” …

Those comments could be viewed as tampering since Anthony is under contract with the Knicks, and could result in a hefty fine for Chicago.

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

The league has strict rules in place against front office personnel reaching out to players under contract with other teams, but nothing that extends to its players discussing playing together at some point in the future.

David Stern addressed this specifically when he was commissioner back in 2010, when the Miami Heat managed to land LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency to play alongside Dwyane Wade, who was already in place.

From Howard Beck, then of the New York Times:

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh became Miami Heat teammates last week, turning a shared dream into reality and unleashing a torrent of suspicion: Had they planned it all along? If so, was this collusion? Tampering? Illegal?

The answer, as far as N.B.A. officials are concerned, is probably not. …

“What we told the owners was that the three players are totally, as our system has evolved, within their rights to talk to each other,” Commissioner David Stern said. …

Players on different teams who discuss the idea of someday playing together “is not tampering or collusion that is prohibited,” Stern said.

Why is this the case? Mainly because it would be virtually impossible to enforce.

Players in this era are friends off the court, and talk to one another constantly. When free agency is impending, players obviously are going to discuss what’s next — sometimes playfully, sometimes more seriously.

Either way, whatever discussion did or did not take place between Anthony and Noah is perfectly fine under NBA rules. Woodson doesn’t need to know this specifically, however, because he has more than enough to worry about — especially with the team meeting with Phil Jackson about the head coaching position that Woodson currently occupies.

  1. cantonbound13 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    How is he still employed?

    • RavenzGunnerz - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      Because Woodson has video footage of James Dolan doing bad things to a puppy and killing it…

      that’s why he still employed…

  2. nflcrimerankingscom - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    Dirtywane Wade led the way with these below-the-belt tactics. Classy.

  3. thevikesarebest - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    And whether melo leaves or not,the Knicks are still the Knicks.i laugh at the knickerbockers.

  4. csbanter - Mar 7, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    In 2014 the NBA cannot prevent anyone from communicating. The bigger issue of course would be how did this leak out. Did Noah or Melo walk up to a reporter and said I got a story for you ? Highly unlikely. Instead you have guys that make up stuff based on what will get the most hits and retweets etc.

  5. sportsfan18 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    for those of you who have seen my comments about the Knicks and woodson, you know they are not complementary.

    i’m a graduate of IU, where coach woodson played college ball for Bobby Knight.

    Coach Knight was a great coach, but his players haven’t done well coaching.

    Woodson, enough said.

    Randy Wittman, uhg… at all his stops.

    Isiah Thomas – fantastic player, terrible in front office and on the sidelines…

    Pat Knight, his son. Bobby should NOT have allowed Pat to play for him at IU. He didn’t deserve to wear the uniform. I was there at the time he was on the team. He couldn’t play.

    And “coach” pat knight, well, I’d have done better… don’t look up his coaching record if you’ve eaten recently.

    Steve Alford – he’s done alright in his college coaching career overall.

    Keith Smart coached in the NBA for three teams and they weren’t good teams so the jury is still out.

    There are others too, several more in fact, but nothing to write home about.

    Bobby was unique though. One thing very few know about is the time he went hunting with 3 well known other men. What a foursome that was.

    Bobby once hunted with

    the King of Spain.

    Papa Bush

    General Norman Schwarzkopf

    NOT many men at all on the face of this planet would be invited to go hunting with those three men at the same time.

    But, Bobby was that kind of man.

  6. jzone954 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    I feel for knick fans…
    Phil Jackson laughs at a job offer from the Knicks, Melo is literally one foot out the door, and the Heat are on the verge of winning 3 in a row…..

  7. campcouch - Mar 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    who can stop the FO from telling a player to ask another if they would come to their team?

  8. eugenesaxe1 - Mar 7, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    So Woodson knows as much about the rules as he knows about coaching?

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