Remember when Giannis Antetokounmpo jokingly (we think) accused LeBron James of tampering by selecting Anthony Davis in the NBA All-Star draft?
Well, Antetokounmpo's own boss may have actually crossed the tampering line.
Here's what Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry told Sporting News' Mitch Lawrence on Thursday about a report suggesting Milwaukee was one of four clubs Davis would sign a long-term contract with:
I saw that report, and I think it’s great. It’s a little bit of what we want. We want players to come and play in Milwaukee. And part of it is, when you’re winning and you’re setting a standard for excellence, people see that. People want to win.
Lasry is speaking in somewhat general terms here. But he had more to add:
It doesn’t make a difference if you’re in Milwaukee, New York or LA. The whole goal is winning. So we hope it would be players like Anthony Davis and others who want to come to Milwaukee.
"Players like Anthony Davis and others" sure sounds a lot like "Anthony Davis."
And here's the kicker: Lasry pretty much admitted the Bucks will try to trade for Davis this summer when asked about the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers reportedly pursuing him, too.
Yes, well, that’s what makes it harder for us to do a (deal). We’ll see if we can figure it out.
That the Bucks and several other teams will pursue a trade for Davis this offseason is no secret. But clubs still can't publicly discuss these pursuits: The NBA's anti-tampering rules state "no player, coach or management person may entice or induce a player under contract with another team to play for his team."
There's room for interpretation in that rule, but Lasry appears to violate it by no-so-subtly implying he'd like Davis to play in Milwaukee. Besides, Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was fined $50,000 last February for arguably more innocuous comments about Antetokounmpo, ironically enough.
Celtics fans may hope the NBA takes action here; Boston theoretically is in the drivers' seat on a Davis trade with the deadline in the rearview mirror, but one rival Eastern Conference general manager told Lawrence that Davis would be a "perfect fit" for the Bucks.
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