There are some very specific rules and consequences when it comes to tampering in the NBA. The league takes it very seriously and any infraction that circumvents the Collective Bargaining Agreement is met with swift and costly punishment. It's why owners, executives, coaches, and even players to a certain extent have to be careful about how they talk about or talk to potential free agent targets before the free agency period begins.
Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob told SFGate.com that during the playoff series between his team and the Denver Nuggets, that Andre Iguodala's cousin told Lacob that Iguodala liked the Warriors and the organization. While this isn't really tampering, it's a story that is told in a way that is probably raising quite a few eyebrows in Denver.
How did you guys talk Andre Iguodala into signing here when you were capped out this summer?:
“It's interesting, during one of the playoff games in Denver, I was sitting on the floor. It turned out per chance, that one of his cousins was sitting behind us. We introduced and got to know him during the first game. When we came back for the second game, he made it pretty clear that Andre liked the Warriors, liked the organization. Obviously, I couldn't talk about that at the time, but when he did become a free agent, I didn't have to sell a lot. He was pretty sold. He sees how we do things, and the word gets out among the players. We get approached all of the time by agents with really big names who say, ‘Hey, when my guy's contract is up, we'd really like to consider playing for the Warriors, because you're building something the right way.' We can't talk to them, because it's illegal, but you can see that we're building something for the future, and people can sense that.”
This story almost reads like halfway through it Lacob started realizing it could be misconstrued as tampering, so he started to make sure he covered his bases. That's probably a good idea because it was a weird story to tell that makes it look like something was up while Iguodala was playing against the Warriors in the playoffs.
The SB Nation Nuggets blog DenverStiffs explains why the feelings of Nuggets fans may skew toward angry or perturbed from this quote:
This is fine. Hell, if I was Lacob I would be jumping for joy. Yet, there is something extremely unseemly with Iguodala's acolytes soliciting the owner of the team he is playing against in the playoffs about free agency. That's Alex Rodriguez territory. Couple this with the circumstantial evidence that Iggy was "The Mole" that Mark Jackson was referring to for "targeting" Stephen Curry in game five. Plus Iguodala's cavortingand going to prayer meetings, again DURING the playoffs with the Warriors ... well, you can't blame Nuggets fans for feeling a bit of righteous indignation toward Iguodala.
It's one thing to leave as a free agent. Everyone get's that. Double dealing with the opposing team during the playoffs? That's dirty pool. Considering he is in the catbird seat with the Warriors at the moment and the Nuggets are going through a painful adjustment to Brian Shaw, it makes things that much worse.
It's all water under the Bay Bridge but it still was just a story better left untold.