While free agency begins July 1st and the 2013 NBA Finals are yet to be finished, some teams have already begun their offseason. The problem with a few of these teams is that they have decided to act illegally in according to league rules referring to players set to become free agents.
The Atlanta Hawks were ‘caught with their pants down’ so to speak when the league found out there were emails sent out to prospective season ticket holders regarding the future of the team – i.e. potentially signing Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
Not only that, but a team employee spoke to the media in reference to the potential acquisitions and there were team websites each having articles published in reference to the matter as well.
The Hawks were ‘one of three teams fined’ according to ESPN. Atlanta has fully admitted to the issue and agrees to the actions the league has taken in response. The fine was not clearly stated, however is said to be a ‘small amount.’
It sounds like the Hawks are just fine with the tampering charges to me. They’re fully aware of the consequences, but seem to be in hot pursuit of Howard and Paul. It’s almost as if they’re taking the ‘go ahead and fine me’ approach out of desperation to get these guys to Atlanta.
If the Hawks do in fact lure Paul and Howard to sign with the team, that most likely means that free-agent-to-be Josh Smith is on his way out seeing as he is seeking a max contract this offseason. If I’m Atlanta, I think I am okay with that. The potential to have two of the top players in the league at their respective positions is to great to worry about Smith.
For now, Atlanta will have to wait a couple more weeks to attempt to make this dream come true.