Tim Polzer
Tuesday June 11th, 2013

Fines were handed out for tampering with All-Stars Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) Team remarks regarding potential free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul were deemed to have broken NBA tampering rules. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA has fined three teams for tampering, according to an internal league memo obtained by USA Today.

USA Today named the Hawks and Kings as two of the teams fined. ESPN.com identified the Rockets as the third team.

From USA Today:

Two people familiar with the fine said that two of the teams are the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings. The people spoke on on the condition of anonymity because the fines haven't been made public.

The Atlanta Hawks sent a statement to USA TODAY Sports saying: "We fully understand and respect the NBA's decision." The Kings also confirmed the fine to USA TODAY Sports, saying, "The Kings organization accepts the league's decision regarding this matter, and regrets any infraction of the policy."

According to the memo, the three teams were fined because:

"The conduct at issue involved statements by a team employee to the media, a team email to prospective season ticket purchasers, and articles posted online on a team website, each related to players who are currently under contract to other teams but who will become free agents this summer."

MAHONEY: Which players could be released via amnesty clause?

The conduct in question regards a recent letter sent by a Hawks employee to season ticketholders that mentioned Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard as potential additions.

"The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up," the Hawks' letter, which was sent via e-mail, said. "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 Kings were fined after new coach Michael Malone said Paul would "look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform" during his introductory press conference. Sources told ESPN the articles referenced in the memo were posted on the Rockets’ team website.

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