Gearon fined $25K for tampering

ATLANTA -- Hawks owner Michael Gearon has been fined $25,000 for making comments that violated the NBA's anti-tampering rules.

The fine was announced by Joel Litvin, the president of league and basketball operations, and was the third handed down in recent days for violation of the rules.

Gearon was fined for comments that appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on May 19, when he said he'd be willing to subject the team to the luxury tax if it could sign Cleveland's LeBron James to a maximum contract.

"If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I'd do it in a heartbeat," Gearon told the newspaper on May 19. "But am I going to do that for [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O'Neal? I don't think so ..."

Teams are not allowed to talk about players on other teams until free agency opens July 1.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 on May 22 for comments he also made about James.

"Come July 1st, yeah, of course, anybody would be interested in LeBron James," Cuban said in a CNNMoney.com interview, which ultimately got him fined. "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 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."

The league also fined Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Steve Kerr $10,000 for comments he made regarding James on a radio show on May 14.

Kerr had said jokingly that he would like to sign James for the mid-level exception. "About five-and-half million, I think he'll take it. Don't you think?" Kerr said.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan was used in this report.