Is LeBron James tampering by saying which star NBA players he would like to play with? That’s been the question this week with several people weighing in, including New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry.
James caught flak this week after he said that he would like to play with Pelicans star Anthony Davis. James was later seen hanging out with Davis one-on-one. The New Orleans big man has been the subject of much trade discussion, but it’s ramped up now that James is part of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, James responded to the chatter around his open desire to play with star players. LeBron was insistent that he wasn’t doing anything wrong and that he plays by the rules.
James then made comment saying he would gladly play with Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, Jimmy Butler, and myriad NBA stars if given the opportunity.
I don’t know if this constitutes tampering by James. What the Lakers star has said is not as rhetorical as he’d like us to believe. Let’s be real here: these are open overtures veiled only by the thin margin between plausible deniability and a direct violation of the NBA’s tampering rules.
The league office will decide whether LeBron has tampered with Davis or any other players. I would be hard-pressed to believe they would fine LeBron, but I also doubt he takes this much further. James is crafty, and knows how to play things in this situation. He’s already made his intentions known, and there’s not much use going any further.
Still, this is wild. If you’re a Pelicans fans you’re probably not to happy about it. We’ll have to wait to see if LeBron’s comments make an impact.