USA Today Sports and ESPN.com report that the three teams all made reference to Dwight Howard and/or Chris Paul, two All-Stars who are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer. NBA teams and their employees are not allowed to make reference to players who are under contract with other teams.
A Hawks ticket sales representative made reference to Howard and Paul in an email to season ticketholders that was published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.”
“This is your opportunity to get on board before its (sic) too late. Once we solidify our signings there will be no seats left,” the letter added.
New Kings coach Michael Malone referenced Paul in a press conference introducing him to the local media.
"Obviously, Chris would look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform without a doubt," Malone said, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The Rockets were reportedly fined for a series of articles appearing on the team's website previewing free agents.
Howard, 27, averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 2012-13, his only season with the Lakers. Paul, 28, averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 assists and 2.4 steals in 2013-13, his second season with the Clippers.