Hawks letter names Paul, Howard
ESPN.com news services
But by specifically mentioning both Paul and Howard in a letter to potential ticket buyers, the Hawks may have violated the NBA’s tampering policy, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A member of the Hawks’ ticket sales department sent the letter via email, according to the Journal-Constitution, which obtained a copy of the letter. The letter names Paul and Howard, who both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, as players the Hawks will target this offseason.
But according to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, teams are required to decline comment about potential free agents prior to the beginning of free agency. Paul, who has spent the past two seasons with the Clippers, and Howard, coming off a disappointing season with the Lakers, technically remain under contract with their respective teams until the July 1 deadline, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The Hawks’ letter was written on team letterhead and included the headline: “Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.”
“The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up,” the letter said, according to the paper. “With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.
“This is your opportunity to get on board before its [sic] too late. Once we solidify our signings there will be no seats left.”
The Hawks and the NBA have not commented on the letter, according to the paper.
The letter also included a link to a story by ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard, who was told by a source last week that Paul was angry with the Clippers because he had been widely blamed for the firing of coach Vinny Del Negro.
The Hawks have the cap room to sign both Paul and Howard, an Atlanta native, to lucrative contracts.The All-Stars have spoken in the past about joining forces, but once Paul was traded to the Clippers in December 2011 and Howard was moved to the Lakers last summer, the duo figured that possibility was dead.
Howard has been lukewarm at best about the idea of playing in his hometown. But the possibility of playing with Paul likely would get him to rethink his position.