Sacramento Kings were third team fined for tampering

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We told you the other day the Hawks and Rockets had been fined by the NBA for tampering — teams cannot officially talk free agents they might have interest in until July 1 when those players are actually free agents. You may want to talk to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, but you can’t officially say anything about them as they are still technically under contract.

There was an unknown at the time third team fined as well.

That turned out to be the Sacramento Kings, as reported by Sam Amick at the USA Today.

The Kings’ infraction is also related to Paul, as new coach Michael Malone said in his introductory press conference that the Clippers point guard would “look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform.” Malone coached Paul while with the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans).

The infractions may have been innocent — the Hawks sent a letter to season ticket holders about all the cap space they had and said “ Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality” — but the league doesn’t play around with this stuff.

While there will be plenty of leaks and reports before then, team officials can’t actually say anything. Every year some teams have to be reminded of this the hard way.