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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

Report: NBA execs furious over LeBron’s public remarks about Anthony Davis

LeBron James

LeBron James stated in no uncertain terms this week that he would love if the Los Angeles Lakers found a way to acquire Anthony Davis, and those remarks have reportedly left some executives around the NBA furious.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that several small-market general managers have been privately expressing their anger with the NBA’s seeming unwillingness to enforce tampering rules. In advance of the New Orleans Pelicans traveling to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Friday, LeBron was asked about the potential of one day having Davis as a teammate.

“That would be amazing,” he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Tuesday. “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”

The NBA’s bylaws governing players defines tampering as “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.” However, the league typically does not view player-to-player tampering with the same seriousness as a team executive making comments like the ones LeBron made about Davis.

GMs of small-market teams are apparently tired of that, and they said they reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to condemn the NBA ignoring what LeBron said.

“It’s New Orleans’ problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us,” one Eastern Conference GM told Wojnarowski. “It’s open season on small markets and our players.”

Small-market teams argue that the remarks like the ones LeBron made about Davis create a media storm and other reactions that make it even more difficult for them to retain star players.

“If these are the rules, enforce them,” a Western Conference GM said. “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.'”

The belief among the frustrated GMs appears to be that the NBA does nothing because it wants star players in big markets, and there is probably some truth to that. This isn’t the first we have heard of LeBron blatantly tampering with a player who is under contract with another team, but it seems unlikely that he will face a fine like the ones Magic Johnson has had to pay during his tenure as a Lakers’ front office executive.


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