While the future of Dwight Howard remains up in the air as free agency doesn’t start until July 1, one of the teams that is hoping to entice him and another big Los Angeles free agent, Chris Paul, may be in a bit of trouble.
The Atlanta Hawks, Dwight’s hometown team, could be facing likely tampering violations after a member of their sales-ticket department sent out a letter to their season-tickets holders, entitled “Hot New Player News.”
Here is a excerpt from the letter, obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.”
“This is your opportunity to get on board before its (sic) too late. Once we solidify our signings there will be no seats left,” the letter added.
The letter also included a link of the recent ESPN report regarding Chris Paul being upset with Clippers management for saying he was a reason they didn’t renew Vinny Del Negro’s contract.
While the Hawks’ president urged that this letter was sent out by a single sales rep on his own behalf and does not reflect the intent of the communications of their basketball operations department, the letter may be considered tampering under the guidelines that the NBA sent to each team in 2008 on this matter. That memo stated:
“If a member of your organization is asked by the media about a potential free agent before the July 1 following the last season covered by the player’s contract, or about any other person under contract with another NBA team, the only proper response is to decline comment.”
Three teams where issued fines for tampering back in 2010 when LeBron James was a free agent. The Dallas Mavericks, the Phoenix Suns and the Atlanta Hawks were those three teams.
While the NBA has yet to comment, many believe that this letter sent by the Hawks’ employee violates tampering rules, especially under that memo sent out by the NBA in 2008. Fines for tampering would likely be in the range of $25,000 to $100,000.
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