Mark Cuban adamantly shot down the notion that his comments about LeBron James could be construed as a violation of the NBA's anti-tampering rules.
"No. It's not tampering. Not even close," Cuban e-mailed, adding "nice try."
The NBA might have a different opinion. League spokesman Tim Frank said the league is looking into the comments Cuban made during a CNNMoney.com interview.
In a memo sent to teams in December 2008, the league made it pretty clear that commenting on a potential free agent before the market opens is considered tampering.
"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," the memo stated.
Cuban was asked whether the Mavs were interested in LeBron. He did not decline comment.
"Come July 1, yeah, of course," Cuban said. "You know, anybody would be interested in LeBron James. If he leaves via free agency, then it’s going to be tough. If he does like I’m guessing, hoping he will, which is to 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."
And Cuban didn't decline comment when asked a follow-up question.
"I mean, what I do know about LeBron in the minimal time I’ve spent talking with him, he just wants to win," Cuban said.
"Money’s not his issue. He needs to be someplace where he trusts the organization. And look, Dan Gilbert in Cleveland did everything he possibility could. It’s just that’s just the way the game works. If there was a template we all could follow, we’d all have championship rings."
Maybe David Stern will determine that his good friend Cuban's comments aren't tampering, but it's at least close.