Did Mark Cuban Tamper With LeBron In Interview?

In a video appearance on CNNMoney.com this week, Mark Cuban stated his specific intent to acquire LeBron James if he does not resign with the Cavaliers.

Did Mark Cuban Tampers With LeBron James During Interview?

Excerpt of Cuban’s comments from his interview with CNNMoney.com:

Come July 1st, yeah, of course, anybody would be interested in LeBron James, and 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 … then he’ll try to force a sign-and-trade, and that gives us a chance.”

Cuban added, “What I do know about LeBron in the minimal time I’ve spent talking to him is he just wants to win. Money’s not his issue. He needs to be some place where he trusts the organization.”

In 2008, the NBA reportedly reiterated tampering regulations for future free agents:

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.

Penalties for tampering include suspension of the offending person, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks, and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million.

James has an exclusive negotiating window with the Cavaliers that expires on July 1. If James can’t come to terms with Cleveland during that period, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Cuban’s comments are puzzling, as he surely knows the tampering rules for potential free agents. Or perhaps he thinks his comments were not applicable to the rules in this instance.Think David Stern is wondering the same thing?

(Thanks to Jeff Caplan.)

UPDATE: Cuban on if he was tampering: “Its not tampering. Not even close. nice try.