NBA quiets Oden/Durant buzz
Three teams fined for contact with freshmen phenoms
Posted: Friday March 16, 2007 6:29PM; Updated: Friday March 16, 2007 7:01PM
With March Madness upon us, the NBA is cracking down on loose-lipped team executives who can't help but talk about -- or to the families of -- Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, the likely top picks in this year's draft.
According to a memo dispersed to all GMs and team counsel Friday by NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan, three teams were fined a total of $60,000:
The Boston Celtics were fined $30,000 as a result of contact that took place between executive director Danny Ainge and Durant's family members at a Big 12 tournament game on March 10.
The Golden State Warriors were fined $15,000 for public comments made by coach Don Nelson regarding Oden and Durant in an interview posted on SI.com on March 9.
League rules prohibit teams from having any kind of communication with players who have remaining college eligibility.
"As a reminder,'' Buchanan wrote in his memo, "the prohibition against indirect contact includes, among other things, communications with a player's family members, representatives, or friends, and extends to any public comments made by team personnel regarding a player.''
Ainge was seen sitting with Durant's mother at the Big 12 tournament. He was later quoted as saying that he was seated next to her by accident and that he had no control over his ticket location.
But that argument holds no water with the NBA.
"We recognize that team personnel occasionally have unanticipated encounters with players or their representatives or family members at games or other events,'' Buchanan wrote. "Team personnel are of course permitted to exchange greetings with players or their representatives or family members in these circumstances to the extent required by social courtesy. However, team personnel should not initiate such exchanges and should take appropriate steps to ensure that the duration of any such exchanges is kept to a minimum.''