Dwyane Wade admits LeBron James committed tampering violation?
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade obviously spoke about playing together again way before Wade agreed to a buyout with the Chicago Bulls, but Wade probably made things a little awkward for NBA commissioner Adam Silver by admitting that this week.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Wade revealed that the first time LeBron texted him about a potential reunion was back in June.
“The first text I got was maybe a few days after Jimmy (Butler) got traded,” Wade recalled. “He texted me to just test my temperature a little bit. Then we talked, and obviously we always just talk about regular things. Then he hit me again later like, ‘I don’t know what you’re gonna do, I don’t know where your mind is right now, but if something happened in Chicago and you guys decide to part ways, I want you to really consider coming to Cleveland.'”
Player to player tampering is not looked upon nearly as seriously as other forms of tampering in the NBA. As we were reminded recently when the Los Angeles Lakers were slapped with a big fine for their dealings with Paul George, the NBA’s anti-tampering rules “prohibit teams from interfering with other teams’ contractual relationships with NBA players, including by publicly expressing interest in a player who is currently under contract with another team or informing the agent of another team’s player of interest by one’s own team in that player.” That makes it seem as though a player contacting another player who is under contract with another team is not a big deal, and that’s pretty much how the team views it.
Wade signed for the veteran minimum with Cleveland, so he knew he would have his pick of where he wanted to play if he was keeping his salary demands that low. It helped that he was paid a large portion of the $23 million or so remaining on his deal with the Bulls. With that in mind, it’s not like Wade’s conversations with LeBron were the reason he decided to force his way out of Chicago.
Technically, players aren’t supposed to reach out to players who are under contract with another team and recruit them. But the league is not going to view James texting his close friend as nearly as big of a violation as what the Lakers did with George, or a violation at all for that matter.