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Clippers Fined $50K for Praise of Player on Another Team

NBA decides coach's comments were tampering
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2019 5:31 PM CDT
Updated May 31, 2019 6:05 PM CDT
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said the wrong thing on ESPN.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(Newser) – It may sound like Doc Rivers was just being nice and complimentary when he compared a Toronto Raptors star to NBA great Michael Jordan. Kawhi Leonard is the player who's the "most like Jordan that we’ve seen," Rivers, coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, said on ESPN, per the Los Angeles Times. But Leonard could become a free agent this summer, and the Clippers have shown interest in signing him, sending executives to watch him play.

So statements like the one Rivers made can be construed as tampering. A league rule says that the NBA can fine any player or team that "directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce, or persuade" someone under contract to another franchise to switch teams. The NBA fined the Clippers $50,000 on Friday. Leonard has said little about his plans, just that he's focused on this season, per Bleacher Report, and is busy now anyway: He and the Raptors lead the Golden State Warriors 1-0 in the NBA Finals. (Read more Doc Rivers stories.)

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