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NBA doesn't punish Wade for anti-Bulls comments
by Sam Smith
Posted on May 28
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
The NBA absolved Dwyane Wade of any competitive wrongdoing in declaring the Bulls a disloyal franchise, but Wade’s comments clearly signaled this could be a noxious summer of free agent recruiting.
An NBA spokesman said the NBA has a rule that prohibits players from tampering with other players. The complication is the spokesman said the NBA understands players talk and interact with one another all the time and there is no was to regulate that.
The players from the 2008 Olympic team who are free agents have repeatedly stated they will talk about free agency and their plans, and Wade reiterated that again this week.
As a result of the league’s understanding you cannot prevent friends and colleagues from talking to one another the league reserves disciple for only the “most egregious tampering cases.”
It was decided Wade’s comments “do not meet that standard.”
Still, Wade’s comments to the Chicago Tribune earlier this week that the Bulls are a disloyal franchise given Wade’s view of their treatment of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen should put on notice all teams that this will likely not be a fair and honest process.
Wade delivered the first salvo by suggesting, through implication as I noted in my Bulls.com story Thursday, free agents should avoid the Bulls because of some disloyalty factor.
An cursory examination of each team’s personnel roster, as I did, showed the Bulls with three times as many former players working for the franchise currently compared to the Heat. Plus, a huge number of former Bulls players have had significant positions with the franchise, like coach and GM, while the Heat has regularly ignored its former players for major positions in coaching or management.
So Wade’s message, clearly, was don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. It would seem Wade realized his Heat with a decimated and aging roster don’t have nearly as much to sell as the Bulls. If you can’t let the record speak, perhaps then you try some, as Don King liked to say, trickeration. And, yes, this could become like boxing, which one promoter once described to me as “the closest thing we have to 17th century buccaneering.”
Yes, ready the canons and be ready for attacks. It’s just the beginning.