Commissioner Stern: No free agent summit
LOS ANGELES - There will be no free agency summit.
So says NBA commissioner David Stern, claiming he's been assured at the "highest level" that there will be no sitdown among LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the other superstars who could hit the market on July 1.
And that was the players' choice, not an order from him.
"I would expect our players to talk to one another, and we don't have any problem with that," Stern said yesterday during his annual NBA Finals news conference. "If some kind of tampering is implicated, I will have a later and different view, but we're not expecting that."
The idea of the get-together among the free agents grew after Wade said the players would talk to each other at some point, though he never said they would all gather in one place to have an official discussion.
And though some fans wondered if that would constitute tampering, Stern wouldn't have tried to stop it.
"They can have it," he said. "I was wondering whether they would get together, eight players and they'll all look at D-Wade's ring? They'd be better off watching these finals to see how you construct a team and how you play and the like. There's not going to be a summit."
Stern did enforce a rule, telling Lakers coach Phil Jackson to stop rewarding players with $50 for taking charges.
Also, Stern said he wants to look into the rule in which players are suspended for one game in the postseason for technical and flagrant foul accumulation. The Celtics would lose starting center Kendrick Perkins with his next technical, and both Jackson and Boston coach Doc Rivers have criticized the rule.
LeBron fever pitch. Bulls fans are taking their sales pitch to LeBron James to another level - like 30 feet off the ground.
The group behind the Web site SendLeBrontoChicago.com has paid for a billboard in downtown Chicago pleading with "King James" to leave Cleveland for the Windy City.
It reads "Chicago Wants LeBron Unfinished Business," with the Chicago skyline in the background and "LeBron" in Bulls red.