Tampering is one of those things in sports that leagues frown on and nearly every team does in one way or another. It's one of those things that teams universally understand is part of the rules but don't take overly seriously. Phil Jackson can consider this a small lesson as an executive in the league. The New York Knicks president was fined for tampering after making comments about Oklahoma City Thunder impending free agent Derek Fisher.
Mark this one down as not a big deal. New York Knicks' Phil Jackson has been fined for tampering. The rules state teams can't directly or indirectly talk about other teams free agents. Because Jackson mentioned his desire to talk to Derek Fisher who will be a free agent this off-season he technically broke the rules.
It's pretty black and white. The only problem, in this case, is that Jackson isn't really talking about a free agent. He isn't looking to sign Fisher to become the next point guard of the Knicks.
That being said, if Fisher and Raymond Felton played one-on-one ten times Felton would be lucky to win once. Fisher is smarter, has a better jump shot and is a superior defender in every sense of the word.
Those attributes are some of the reasons why Jackson is interested in hiring Fisher to become the next head coach of the Knicks. Fisher's basketball IQ, knowledge of the triangle offense, relationship with Jackson and leadership abilities make him a very good prospect for the lead chair on the Knicks bench.
With that in mind, the NBA is absolutely correct to assess this fine. It's something that they need to keep on top of because the league can't have other teams telling players from other teams to hold tight in their current contracts until they hit free agency. Certainly not publicly. There's plenty of ways to do that through back channels without rubbing the league's face in it.
Sources said Jackson was fined specifically for statements he made at a news conference last week about possibly hiring Fisher as Knicks coach.
This isn't a big fine and Jackson can definitely afford it. James Dolan made sure of that when he gave him his deal this season.
Furthermore, everyone knows Jackson is interested in hiring Fisher as Knicks coach. The Thunder know it. Fisher knows it. Scott Brooks knows it. The league certainly knows it.
Adam Silver and the NBA just had to school Jackson a bit and make it clear that the rules are to be respected. Honestly, in this case it doesn't really matter. However, Jackson technically broke the rules. If you do the crime you have to do the time.
In other words, Jackson just learned that to you have to pay the cost to be the boss. The league simply welcomed to the executive ranks of the NBA. This may be his first fine he's received as president of the Knicks but it likely wont be the last. If anything, this is business as usual.