A LeBron James tampering investigation has been opened by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert wants to know if the Miami Heat committed tampering during their pursuit of signing free agent James during this past NBA offseason. It’s something Gilbert has taken on himself, and the Cavaliers haven’t even asked the NBA to launch an investigation into it, something that has to be done before the league gets involved.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Gilbert is going to spare no expense to uncover any possible evidence that might exist in this case, and there are pretty specific rules the NBA has in place to make sure tampering never happens. The rules pretty clearly state that no team representative can talk to the player of another franchise if that player is still under contract with that other franchise.
Basically, when it comes to James, no other team would have been allowed to contact James before he became a free agent on July 1, 2010.
So what constitutes a representative of a team that could be found to be involved in tampering? It could be as simple as the star player of the Miami Heat (Dwyane Wade) contacting him about singing with the Heat, or it could be as involved as someone from the front office of the Heat contacting James about possible contract details before he was out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The tampering rules are there to protect the team that owns the rights to a player, and they are in place to help promote competition in the league. What it could ultimately lead to is a franchise losing a draft pick or two if they were found guilty of tampering.
This is one of those behind-the-scenes issues that can get pretty ugly in sports, and is blatantly different than the public persona Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is trying to portray. His most recent interviews have all involved him stating that he has moved past James signing with the Heat and he has gotten over things, but this investigation seems to indicate just the opposite. Wojnarowski also mentioned in his article that Gilbert is investing a lot of money into his investigation, and that he has already hired a law firm to do most of the work. The cost of that investigation is reportedly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars already.
When LeBron James was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was off-limits to every other franchise in the NBA, and we are soon going to find out if there was tampering involved in the signing of James that could lead to the NBA having to take action.