LeBron James caused quite the stir among the dozens of New Orleans Pelicans fans on Tuesday when he commented on the possibility of the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis, saying it would be “amazing.”
In James’ defense, it was honest answer to a strange question, but it did tiptoe on the fine line of the league’s tampering rules, something the Lakers are familiar with, or at least should be.
The Lakers have been fined on two different occasions for violating the league’s tampering rules, once for allegedly communicating with [REDACTED] while he was with the Indiana Pacers and another time for saying nice things about Giannis Antetokounmpo. In total, they’ve paid $550,000 for crossing the line.
Is James going to have to write a hefty check for his comments about Davis? Pelicans General manager Dell Demps said he plans on letting the NBA decide that:
Just spoke to Pelicans GM Dell Demps about LeBron's comments on AD. His response: "We're going to let the league handle it. We're just worried about our team. People can say whatever they want to say. That's not our concern."— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) December 20, 2018
The @PelicansNBA response to LeBron's comment "It would be amazing" to play w/ AD if Lakers trade for him: GM Dell Demps tells me "Pels are leaving it up to League to determine if that qualifies as tampering. Pels have no intention of trading AD. Focused on winning in West now."— Jennifer Hale (@JenHale504) December 20, 2018
Now we’d never advocate for the Lakers or anyone to lose money, but of all of the things they’ve been fined or almost fined for, this is up there with the rest of them. Here are the definitive rankings of all the times the Lakers have deserved to get fine from the NBA:
- The Wink (no fine)
- “I love that” (no fine)
- The Mintz mess (fine)
- Everything else
- That stupid Giannis thing (fine)
However, it’s worth noting that players are almost never fined for tampering. LeBron James made similar comments about Damian Lillard in March and he wasn’t fined for it.
This particular incident might be a little different because the Lakers as an organization aren’t first-time offenders, but it would be surprising to see James get slapped with a fine when Draymond Green got nothing for admitting on the record multiple times that he essentially tampered with Kevin Durant.