Several NBA general managers expressed frustration that the league hasn’t intervened after LeBron James made public comments on a possible trade for Pelicans’ star Anthony Davis, according to ESPN.
When asked about trade rumors surrounding Davis and the Lakers, James said, “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
Anonymous GMs reportedly told ESPN they reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to tell him they were upset over James’ comments on Davis earlier this week as they believe the Lakers star was “tampering.” When asked about trade rumors surrounding Davis and the Lakers, James told reporters, “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”
One Eastern Conference GM told ESPN: “It’s New Orleans’ problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us. It’s open season on small markets and our players.”
According to ESPN, the NBA bylaws governing players states: “Any Player who, directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any Player, Coach, Trainer, General Manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services shall, on being charged with such tampering, should be given an opportunity to answer to such charges after due notice and the Commissioner shall have the power to decide whether or not the charges have been sustained …”
The general managers reportedly are upset the league isn’t enforcing the rules and officials aren’t holding James accountable, as they generally do with owners and management.
“If these are the rules, enforce them,” one Western Conference GM told ESPN. “If you want to push Anthony Davis in LA, if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say, ‘It’s the wild, wild West and anything goes.’
“But give us a list of the rules that you’re enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you’re going to ignore.”
An NBA spokesperson told ESPN the league does not consider what James did to be tampering.
“Each case is assessed on its own facts,” the spokesperson said. “In general, absent evidence of team coordination or other aggravating factors, it is not tampering when a player makes a comment about his interest in playing with another team’s player.”
Davis has two seasons remaining on the five-year, $145 million extension he signed in June 2015. But, Davis can opt out of that deal after 2019-20 and become a free agent.
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