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Rockets fined for Dwight Howard comments during moratorium

(Bill Baptist/Getty Images)Rockets GM Daryl Morey landed Dwight Howard. (Bill Baptist/Getty Images)

The NBA fined the Rockets $150,000 for "unauthorized comments" regarding unrestricted free agent center Dwight Howard made during the league's moratorium.

ESPN.com reports that the Rockets were penalized for comments made by GM Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale following Howard's commitment to the Rockets last Friday. The Associated Press reported that an NBA spokesman had confirmed the fine, adding these details.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey gave an interview later [Friday] night with Comcast SportsNet Houston in which he talked about the recruitment and landing of him. Coach Kevin McHale also discussed Howard over the weekend at the Orlando Summer League.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Morey ran afoul of the league's rules by expressing happiness with the expected signing.

Howard announced his decision to leave the Lakers and join the Rockets on Twitter. He will soon sign a four-year contract worth $88 million.

“I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets,” Howard tweeted. “I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.”

The Rockets, Hawks and Kings were all fined back in June for tampering with Howard and Clippers guard Chris Paul. The Rockets' website included previews of available free agents, a Hawks ticket representative sent an email mentioning Howard and Paul by name, and Kings coach Michael Malone referenced Paul during a press conference.

Teams and players are allowed to have contact and negotiate deals beginning on July 1, but agreements can't be officially consummated or discussed publicly until after July 10, when the league's moratorium was lifted.
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