Infotainment Factory: Two words from LeBron sparks NBA outrage

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Friday, 21 December 2018

Two words from LeBron sparks NBA outrage


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If you needed proof LeBron James runs the NBA well here it is.

For years James' comments, social media posts and career moves have shaped the league and even at 34,  all "The King" had to do was utter two words and league executives pooped their pants.

Since James publicly endorsed the Lakers' pursuit of a trade for New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis, several officials from small-market teams have blown up over what they regard to be blatant tampering.

According to several GM's who spoke with ESPN, James' comments, calling the possibility of Davis' arrival as "amazing" and "incredible" are in direct conflict with tampering rules and that a lack of action from league executives just shows the  "NBA's tacit endorsement of James' comments".

Davis is still contracted to the Pelicans for the 2019/20 season but he recently signed with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, James' longtime friend and agent, leading some to believe that it's only a matter of time until Paul proposes an offer to the Pelicans to trade Davis or risk losing him in free agency.

"It's New Orleans' problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us," one Eastern Conference GM told ESPN. "It's open season on small markets and our players."

The NBA bylaws governing players state: "Any Player who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any Player, Coach, Trainer, General Manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services shall, on being charged with such tampering, should be given an opportunity to answer to such charges after due notice and the Commissioner shall have the power to decide whether or not the charges have been sustained ..."

League executives believe the NBA needs to start holding players accountable for public comments about potential moves the way they generally do owners and management.

"If these are the rules, enforce them," one Western Conference GM told ESPN.

"If you want to push Anthony Davis in L.A., if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say, 'It's the wild, wild west and anything goes.'

"But give us a list of the rules that you're enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you're going to ignore."

An NBA spokesman responded to the claims: "Each case is assessed on its own facts. In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team's player."

It's understood that league officials are reluctant to come down on a player who expresses a wish to play with another, especially since players have had relationships with their contemporaries since their junior years.

The NBA views player comments differently from those of management but essentially needs a smoking gun to level allegations of a team's involvement in a player violation.

The Lakers have been slugged with two separate fines for tampering, one for  $500,000 (Paul George) and the other for $50,000 (Giannis Antetokounmpo) for organizational tampering over the past two years.

Magic Johnson’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he joked about not tampering with Paul George, gave league bosses reason enough to slap the club with a fine.

George ended up staying with Oklahoma City yet there have always been rumours that the NBA put the kaibosh over a potential move back home to LA because of Johnson's public comments.

There's a belief among smaller-market GMs that the league froths over the drama created by a player's pending free agency and the storylines it creates.

Concerned teams are frustrated that the NBA will only intervene when the evidence is in the public domain, rather than doing their own investigations. By doing nothing, they claim NBA commissioner Adam Silver is  "placing far more value on the potential financial benefits of fan interest and stars in big markets than it does the maintaining of a fair, competitive environment."

James' tentacles reach deep within every section of the basketball business and the NBA would rather embrace the value that he brings as opposed to punishing him for being complimentary about another player.

Small-market GM's might be right in assuming that James is actively pursuing Davis, but the NBA champion is too clever and he has a firm grasp of his place within the game.

LeBron played for a small-market team for most of his career in Cleveland, with the broader city and the franchise cashing in on every level due to his presence.

New Orleans have had Davis on their books since he was drafted and have failed to come up with a formula to have him elevate them from the middle of the pack.

As NBA legend Charles Barkley put it recently when asked about Davis joining LeBron in Los Angeles.

"The fix is in".

 

If you needed proof LeBron James runs the NBA well here it is.

For years James' comments, social media posts and career moves have shaped the league and even at 34,  all "The King" had to do was utter two words and league executives pooped their pants.

Since James publicly endorsed the Lakers' pursuit of a trade for New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis, several officials from small-market teams have blown up over what they regard to be blatant tampering.

According to several GM's who spoke with ESPN, James' comments, calling the possibility of Davis' arrival as "amazing" and "incredible" are in direct conflict with tampering rules and that a lack of action from league executives just shows the  "NBA's tacit endorsement of James' comments".

Davis is still contracted to the Pelicans for the 2019/20 season but he recently signed with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, James' longtime friend and agent, leading some to believe that it's only a matter of time until Paul proposes an offer to the Pelicans to trade Davis or risk losing him in free agency.

"It's New Orleans' problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us," one Eastern Conference GM told ESPN. "It's open season on small markets and our players."

The NBA bylaws governing players state: "Any Player who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any Player, Coach, Trainer, General Manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services shall, on being charged with such tampering, should be given an opportunity to answer to such charges after due notice and the Commissioner shall have the power to decide whether or not the charges have been sustained ..."

League executives believe the NBA needs to start holding players accountable for public comments about potential moves the way they generally do owners and management.

"If these are the rules, enforce them," one Western Conference GM told ESPN.

"If you want to push Anthony Davis in L.A., if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say, 'It's the wild, wild west and anything goes.'

"But give us a list of the rules that you're enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you're going to ignore."

An NBA spokesman responded to the claims: "Each case is assessed on its own facts. In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team's player."

It's understood that league officials are reluctant to come down on a player who expresses a wish to play with another, especially since players have had relationships with their contemporaries since their junior years.

The NBA views player comments differently from those of management but essentially needs a smoking gun to level allegations of a team's involvement in a player violation.

The Lakers have been slugged with two separate fines for tampering, one for  $500,000 (Paul George) and the other for $50,000 (Giannis Antetokounmpo) for organizational tampering over the past two years.

Magic Johnson’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he joked about not tampering with Paul George, gave league bosses reason enough to slap the club with a fine.

George ended up staying with Oklahoma City yet there have always been rumours that the NBA put the kaibosh over a potential move back home to LA because of Johnson's public comments.

There's a belief among smaller-market GMs that the league froths over the drama created by a player's pending free agency and the storylines it creates.

Concerned teams are frustrated that the NBA will only intervene when the evidence is in the public domain, rather than doing their own investigations. By doing nothing, they claim NBA commissioner Adam Silver is  "placing far more value on the potential financial benefits of fan interest and stars in big markets than it does the maintaining of a fair, competitive environment."

James' tentacles reach deep within every section of the basketball business and the NBA would rather embrace the value that he brings as opposed to punishing him for being complimentary about another player.

Small-market GM's might be right in assuming that James is actively pursuing Davis, but the NBA champion is too clever and he has a firm grasp of his place within the game.

LeBron played for a small-market team for most of his career in Cleveland, with the broader city and the franchise cashing in on every level due to his presence.

New Orleans have had Davis on their books since he was drafted and have failed to come up with a formula to have him elevate them from the middle of the pack.

As NBA legend Charles Barkley put it recently when asked about Davis joining LeBron in Los Angeles.

"The fix is in".

 

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