Atlanta Hawks Fined For Tampering, Among Two Other Teams


May 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer takes questions from the media after being introduced during a press conference at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

After checking out SB Nation’s Hawks website, Peach Tree Hoops I stumbled upon the unfortunate tampering story that the Atlanta Hawks are involved in. According to USA Today, the Hawks are one of three teams who were fined by the NBA for violating Article 35A of the NBA Constitution.

The writers–Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt–spelled out that clause in the story:

"Article 35A of the NBA Constitution states that it’s a violation of the league’s anti-tampering rule for any person affiliated with an NBA team to directly or indirectly (i) entice, induce, or persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any player, coach, GM or other person under contract to any other NBA team to enter into negotiations for or relating to that person’s services or to negotiate or contract for such services, or (ii) otherwise interfere with the employment relationship between that employee and the other NBA team"

It was fairly obvious that the Hawks were one of the teams involved with this after the AJC’s report on the subject on June 4.At this point the other teams have not been named in the USA Today story.

Kris Willis of Peach Tree Hoops disliked that this became a big story and only believes it is tampering because of the NBA’s “wide scope” of the violation. I would have to agree with him at this point:

"I previously spoke out against this and called it a non story which led to a somewhat awkward exchange. I still believe that it was a non story and that it is tampering only because the NBA’s definition has such a wide scope. This was an error that was made by a low level ticket rep who has since apparently been let go. There is no evidence to suggest that anyone on the basketball operations side of things had any knowledge of these emails or what was in them. Its not like any advantage with Paul or Howard was gained as a result of those emails."

Because some ticket salesman jumped the gun and got a bit too excited about the Chris Paul/Dwight Howard rumors, the Hawks could be fined up to $5 million. Apparently this guy–Cal Bowdler–sent out an email to season ticket holders using the hopes of signing Paul and/or Howard to lure more sales.  I would be shocked if that actually turns out to be the amount however. I feel like the NBA is just doing what they have to do; enforcing their own rules.

It should be fairly obvious that nobody who is in a decision making position purposefully, or even accidentally, tried to tamper with other team’s players and motivate them to join the team. It shouldn’t really be too big of a deal for anyone– well except for the Cal Bowdler… apparently he was let go.