The league smacked Gearon with a $25,000 fine for his May 19 comments that violated NBA anti-tampering rules in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I'd do it in a heartbeat," Gearon told the paper. "But am I going to do that for (Cavs center Zydrunas) Ilgauskas? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O'Neal? I don't think so."
Cuban still leads the league with the largest fine at $100,000 for saying he's "hopeful" that LeBron will choose to do a sign-and-trade with the Mavs. Kerr chipped in $10,000 for a tongue-in-cheek comment about paying LeBron the mid-level exception -- about $5.5 million -- next season.
It is fascinating how the NBA is scaling the severity of tampering and the ensuing fines for each offender. Apparently a nominal fee will be charged for cracking wise about LeBron's potential free agency such as Kerr did. They'll take the fine up a notch if the tamperer presents a hypothetical situation as Gearon did, and quadruple that when someone like Cuban offers up a potentially real scenario.
To all NBA owners and front-office personnel, repeat after me: When asked about LeBron James or any other potential free agent, the only proper response is, "No Comment."
OK, who's next to contribute to the LBJTF?