Dwyane Wade Doesn't Deserve to Be Fined for Tampering
But the NBA came out Friday and said Wade's comments don't meet the league's standard for player tampering. The Associated Press and other publications wrote about it. Here's what league spokesman Tim Frank actually told reporters: "We have a rule that prohibits players from tampering with other players. With that said, we understand that players talk and interact with each other all the time and there's no real way to regulate that. We therefore reserve discipline only for the most egregious player tampering cases. In our view, the comments by Dwyane do not meet that standard."
This isn't good enough for DallasBasketball.com's David Lord, who thinks Wade should be fined. Beyond suggesting this is all some sort of conspiracy (what?), Lord locates the actual rule preventing player-to-player tampering. Sure enough, reasonable people could read that and come down on either side of the issue. It is not unreasonable to think the league should slap Wade on the wrist for saying he will consult his colleagues before signing the last mammoth contract of his playing career.
But it is a bit silly, when it comes down to it. This is all semantics. Wade is technically a Heat player until July 1. But free agency has already started. Maybe he will recruit for the Heat. Maybe LeBron will try to get a player to negotiate with Cleveland for a sign-and-trade. We don't know, and that's the key. We don't know what the players will do or even want to do, so it hardly seems like a conspiracy to fluff up one specific team. This isn't like when team owners or GMs recruit a player outside the lines. We know what that result will be, if it's effective.
If Wade said the friends would meet before July 1 and pair off to the three teams with space for two max free agents, then you'd have something. But they just want to compare options, perhaps convince each other what pairings might work, and talk. This could end up as a player-led revolution, but the meeting itself isn't unsavory. This is Marat whipping up a bulletin, not Marie Antoinette meeting the National Razor.