Report: Raptors complained to league multiple times about Clippers tampering with Kawhi Leonard

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The Clippers got fined for tampering, because Clippers coach Doc Rivers compared Raptors star Kawhi Leonard to Michael Jordan. Rivers’ comments seemed innocent enough, coming while working as a TV analyst and without himself bringing up Leonard.

But they also fit a larger pattern.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN:

The NBA’s tampering rules remain vague and arbitrarily enforced.

If the Clippers were fined for a collection of transgressions, the league should have announced that. Citing only Rivers’ remarks has two major consequences:

1. It inspires perception of unfairness. Many coaches, who are are required to hold pre- and post-game press conferences, have complimented opposing players like this without getting publicly fined. (The NBA doesn’t announce every fine.)

2. It has a chilling effect. Fans are served by coaches publicly analyzing the game. That’s why the league requires those pre- and post-game press conferences. Now, coaches might be overly careful to the point they say nothing at all.

Maybe the Clippers deserved a fine for tampering. Toronto obviously thought so. But this was a poor way to draw the line.