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NBA PM: Details Emerge About Clippers’ Fine

The Clippers were fined $250,000 for violating NBA rules in their pitch to DeAndre Jordan. Details have emerged.

Alex Kennedy profile picture
Updated 10 months ago on
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Details Emerge About the Clippers’ $250,000 Fine

As if DeAndre Jordan’s free agency process didn’t include enough drama, the Los Angeles Clippers have now been fined a quarter of a million dollars by the NBA because part of their presentation to the big man broke league rules.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced that they had fined the Clippers $250,000 “for violating NBA rules prohibiting teams from offering players unauthorized business or investment opportunities.”

The announcement added that the Clippers had offered center DeAndre Jordan “a potential third-party endorsement opportunity” during their free agency pitch on July 2. The league’s investigation found that the offer didn’t affect Jordan’s free agency decision, but the Clippers were still fined for violating the NBA’s anti-circumvention rules.

These rules exist so that a team can’t compensate a player outside of their contract, circumventing the salary cap and collective bargaining agreement.

Today, more details about the offer to Jordan have been released, with multiple reports stating that Clippers had arranged for Jordan to land a $200,000 Lexus endorsement deal, which is clearly not allowed under these rules.

During free agency meetings, teams (especially those located in large markets, like Los Angeles) often tell players how much more money they could earn if they were play in that city. The Los Angeles Lakers make this a big part of their pitch to free agents, stressing how being a Laker can help an individual’s brand and maximize their earning potential.

That is allowed, as it is just explaining the facts to a player and letting them know how joining their organization may help them financially due to greater exposure, larger endorsement deals, etc.

What’s not allowed is a team arranging an endorsement for a player, as the Clippers tried to do, since this is essentially extra income for the player coming directly from the team.

The NBA monitors all of these situations to ensure that teams aren’t paying a player under the table or through third-party deals in an effort to minimize the contract that’s on the books and preserve cap space.

Steve Ballmer, the owner of the Clippers, commented on this fine in a recent internal memo that was leaked to the media.

“Today, the NBA announced it has fined the team for violating NBA rules in our presentation to DeAndre Jordan on July 2,” Ballmer said in an internal memo that was obtained by The Orange County Register. “The League’s investigation concluded that the presentation of a potential third-party opportunity had no impact on DeAndre’s decision to re-sign, and having been a part of the process, I can attest to this fact.

“As we, and the basketball world, observed DJ ultimately chose to stay with the Clippers because he felt it was his best opportunity to win a championship, and because of his desire to remain part of the Clippers family.

“As I shared with everyone on day one of purchasing the team, being part of the Clippers family means operating with the highest integrity. We believed we were doing this the right way, and any circumvention was inadvertent. In our effort to support our players in every way possible, we as an organization must be diligent in complying with the CBA.”

Jordan ultimately decided to re-sign with the Clippers on a four-year deal worth $87.7 million after initially verbally committing to the Dallas Mavericks.

Porter Expects to Play Some Power Forward

Last year, Paul Pierce emerged as a small-ball power forward for the Washington Wizards, giving the team some versatility and allowing head coach Randy Wittman to get creative with some of his lineups. But this summer, the Wizards lost Pierce to free agency when he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

However, they may still have a small-ball four on the roster.

Otto Porter, the 22-year-old forward who was drafted with the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, is confident that he can be Washington’s small-ball power forward, if asked.

Porter is 6’8, and did play the four in high school (he was ranked the No. 8 power forward in the nation as a senior).

“Definitely, because that’s [where] the NBA is transitioning, you know, to smaller lineups,” Porter said of playing the four in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio. “So being able to stretch out as a four is going to be key, and that is something with our coaching we might end up doing. It’s definitely something I’ll be comfortable with.”

Porter is expected to take on a much larger role this season now that he’s no longer buried on the depth chart.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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