There have been reports that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, while still under contract with their respective teams, agreed to play together in Miami for the Heat.
Did the three players collude by speaking to each other while still under contract with their respective teams?
According to NBA Commissioner David Stern the answer is no.
"The three players are totally within their rights to talk to each other," Stern said. "That is not tampering."
The NBA’s anti-tampering rules bar club officials from publicly discussing their interest in potential free agents (or any player for that matter) while they are still under contract with another NBA team. So when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told CNNMoney.com before free agent season opened that “anybody” would be interested in James and that he would have a chance if James told the Cavaliers to arrange a sign-and-trade deal, the NBA hit him with a $100,000.00.
However, there is nothing precluding NBA players from speaking to each other (presumably so long as they are not acting on the direction of teams officials). So while Cuban wants an investigation on how the three high-profile free agents ended up on Miami, the NBA said Monday no formal complaints have been filed with the league.
The NBA may elect to revisit the issue when the current CBA expires after the 2010-2011 season.
Stern on LeBron’s Prime Time announcement
"I would have advised [James] not to embark on what has become known as 'The Decision’. I think that the advice he received on this was poor. His performance was fine. His honesty and his integrity shine through. But this decision was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed. Those who were interested were given our opinion prior to its airing."
Stern on Cavs Owner Gilbert’s Letter, which resulted in $100,000.00 fine from the NBA
“I think the remarks by Dan Gilbert, catalyzed as they may have been by a hurt with respect with the respect to his team and the people of Cleveland, though understandable, were ill-advised and imprudent.”
"I think Dan Gilbert is a good owner and I think he was completely correct in expressing his disappointment and his determination to win. In fact, if he wants to guarantee a championship, more power to him. I'm going to tune in to watch to see if he can do it. But you would read the rest of the statement to see where I think it was a little bit to the extreme and his follow-on interview."
Stern on Rev. Jesse Jackson, who issued a statement Sunday saying that Gilbert's "feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality and that he "sees LeBron as a runaway slave."
"Equally imprudent are the remarks by my good friend Jesse Jackson, which purport to make this into a racial matter," Stern said. "And I find that, however well meaning Jesse may be with the premise on this, mistaken."
Must Read - Brian Windhorst’s article, Inside ‘The Decision’, where he writes that their common desire to play together may go as far back as 2006.