The NBA’s tampering rules don’t allow coaches, executives, or owners to discuss players from other teams in terms of how they might work on their team. Typically, we see tampering fines come out for someone getting cheeky and saying something positive about a player with a not so subtle wink towards their upcoming free agency or availability on the trade market.
What we don’t often see is someone get fined for tampering for, effectively, saying they aren’t interested in someone, but Warriors owner Joe Lacob earned a $50,000 slap on the wrist from the league for doing just that with Ben Simmons. Lacob was recently asked about Simmons rumors and tried to pour cold water on them by pointing out that, while a talented player, it didn’t make a lot of sense for the Warriors because they already have Draymond, questioning Simmons’ fit, noting his hefty contract, and questioning if he could finish games.
It’s all fairly level-headed analysis of why trading the farm for Simmons doesn’t make a ton of sense for the Warriors, but even saying you don’t really want a guy will still apparently get you tagged with a fine.
The following has been announced by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/68zqEBB4LJ
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 22, 2021
Tampering fines literally drove Magic Johnson to step down from the Lakers because he was too committed to posting on Twitter, and most executives have wised up the situation and refuse to give on-record answers about anything that could even come close to tampering. Lacob has now learned his lesson, however unfortunately, but $50,000 later, we now can probably cross the Warriors off the list of likely destinations for Simmons.