May 21, 2010

The NBA is reviewing comments Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made about LeBron James that could fall under the league's anti-tampering rules.

In an interview with this week, Cuban said his Mavericks would be interested in pursuing the two-time MVP should he become a free agent on July 1.

"Come July 1, yeah, of course. Anybody would be interested in LeBron James, and if he leaves via free agency, then it's going to be tough," Cuban said in the interview. "If he does like I'm guessing, hoping he will, which is say, 'I'm not going to leave the Cavs high and dry,' if he decides to leave -- there's still a better chance he stays -- then he'll try to force a sign-and-trade, and that gives us a chance. ... What I do know about LeBron in the minimal time I've spent talking to him is he just wants to win. Money's not his issue. He needs to be someplace where he trusts the organization."

Though Cuban's interest in James is not surprising, his statements may have violated the NBA's anti-tampering policy, which was detailed in a memo to all 30 teams in 2008:

"If a member of your organization is asked by the media about a potential free agent prior to the July 1 following the last season covered by the player's contract, or about any other person under contract with another NBA team, the only proper response is to decline comment."

If the league finds that Cuban crossed the line, it could impose penalties ranging from a fine of up to $5 million to the loss of draft picks to prohibiting the Mavs from bidding on James.

Asked whether his remarks could be considered tampering, Cuban told in an e-mail: "No. It's not tampering. Not even close. Nice try."

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