The NBA has fined the Los Angeles Clippers US$50,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule after head coach Doc Rivers made comments about Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard on a recent television appearance.
The league did not specify the actual comments, but Rivers recently compared Leonard to Hall of Famer Michael Jordan on an ESPN panel show.
“He’s the most like Jordan that we’ve seen,” Rivers said. “Not that he is Jordan or anything like that, but he’s the most like him. Big hands, post-game, can finish, great leaper, great defender, in between game.”
Teams can be fined for tampering when a member of that organization expresses interest, either directly or indirectly, in the services of someone under contract with another team.
The Clippers have made no secret of their desire to entice Leonard, a Los Angeles native, to sign when he becomes a free agent after this season.
The fine was handed down one day after the Raptors opened the NBA Finals with a 118-109 win over the Golden State Warriors in Toronto.