Rockets GM Fined After Appearance on Bill Simmons' Podcast
Morey's fine was not related to tampering, however. A review of the February 22 B.S. Report suggests Morey instead got in hot water for discussing collective bargaining negotiations. Simmons and Morey got onto the subject of Houston's 2011 free agency plans, and Simmons asked Morey how many years guaranteed contracts should be capped at. Morey, who cautioned he was speaking about his personal beliefs and not the league's stance, described his ideal salary cap system. Last summer, after a couple owners were anonymously quoted in the press talking lockout, the league reportedly told all 30 teams to hush up about collective bargaining or pay the price.
Morey, by the way, would prefer contracts were not capped, either in length or size. He told Simmons he'd prefer if there were a hard team cap on salaries, but no other regulations as to how contracts were set up. Such a system would be great for the Rockets, Morey said, because it favors teams who are prepared. To me, a hard cap with longer and bigger contracts would create parity, because you could never get more than two stars together on a team, assuming agents figured out a way to work the system. But it will never happen, so it's irrelevant.
While Mark Cuban beats back charges of tampering, Morey's fine provides a reminder of the bigger picture here: when David Stern tells you to shut up, you shut up. The fine, even assuming Isola bloated the figure in his report, seems pretty unfair for a harmless discussion of the cap. I understand discouraging team owners and employees from screaming "DOOM!" as we approach 2011. But Morey and other team bosses should be allowed to discuss their ideas openly. I'm not sure who the league is protecting here.