Clippers guard Chris Paul, left, and Lakers center Dwight Howard were mentioned… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Three NBA teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, have been fined an unspecified amount for tampering, according to a league memo obtained by USA Today. ESPN reported the Houston Rockets were one of the other teams.
The Hawks were fined for sending an email to prospective season-ticket holders referencing free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. The Rockets were fined, according to ESPN, for mentioning free agents on their team website.
The league memo said the teams were fined because "the conduct at issue involved statements by a team employee to the media, a team email to prospective season-ticket purchasers, and articles posted online on a team website, each related to players who are currently under contract to other teams but who will become free agents this summer."
The Hawks' letter to fans tried to generate interest in potential moves made this summer involving Howard and Paul, the top two free agents on the market.
"With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA," the letter said. "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."
Potential penalties for tampering, according to the NBA's constitution, include suspension of the offending person, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million.
In a statement to USA Today, the Hawks said, "We fully understand and respect the NBA's decision."
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