The Houston Rockets spoke too soon about the acquisition of Dwight Howard. (Harry How / Getty Images )
In celebrating their agreement with free-agent center Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets said too much.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Rockets have been fined $150,000 by the NBA for "unauthorized comments made by team personnel about Howard during the league's annual moratorium on player business."
For the first nine days of July, the league office finalizes their year-end accounting for the previous season and determines the salary cap for the coming year. During that time, teams can come to verbal agreements with players but are not permitted to comment publicly.
"I gave out a little whoop," said Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey to the Houston Chronicle. "A little non-presidential yell."
Morey and other representatives of the team, including Coach Kevin McHale, spoke openly about Howard's decision, announced Friday.
In contrast, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak released a carefully worded statement on the team's agreement to sign Chris Kaman.
"The team has been engaged in negotiations with free-agent center Chris Kaman and intends to sign him to a contract at the conclusion of the NBA moratorium period," Kupchak said.
Note the use of the word "intends" and no mention of an actual agreement.
The differences may be slight but slight enough to protect the Lakers from a $150,000 fine.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.