In the aftermath of LeBron James' public comments on the possibility of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis joining him on the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA sent a memo to teams that warned of consequences for orchestrated tampering campaigns of players under contract elsewhere.
In a memo obtained by ESPN on Friday morning, league counsel seemed to be alluding to James' scenario, saying, "employment contracts are to be respected and conduct that interferes with contractual employment relationships is prohibited.
"This principle is particularly important in today's media environment, where any actions or comments relating to potential player movement receive immediate and widespread public attention. Teams should be entitled to focus their efforts on the competition this season with the players they have under contract, without having to divert attention or resources to conduct or speculation regarding the potential destinations of those players in future seasons once their contracts expire."
Several small-market general managers told ESPN last week that they reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to express dismay over what they perceive as the NBA's tacit endorsement of James' comments, made earlier this month to ESPN, that it would be "amazing" and "incredible" if the Lakers could somehow acquire Davis, a five-time All-Star who is currently under contract with the Pelicans through the 2019-20 season.