Mark Cuban, the flamboyant and tech savvy owner of the Dallas Mavericks is known for flaunting the NBA's rules and paying fines as a result. It would come as no surprise then if Cuban used a supposedly unaffiliated and independent blogger to stir up trouble and skirt the league's ban on tampering.
In early April when the Suns were in Dallas for their final epic and failed attempt to keep playoff hopes alive in Phoenix, a rumor surfaced that Shaquille O'Neal wanted to be traded to the Mavericks.
The rumor was first floated on a web site called Dallasbasketball.com by the site's primary author Mike Fisher.
We have since learned that Mike has a long standing relationship with Cuban and his web site is owned by Dallas Basketball LTD, the limited partnership which owns the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks Director of Technology & Information Systems, Ken Bonzon is listed as the administrative contact for the web site.
The association between the team and the original publication of a thinly sourced rumor raises questions that tie into something a sports agent told me regarding Cuban's use of "non-traditional media" to stir up trouble with other teams and to insert himself into discussions that would otherwise be forbidden under the tampering ban.
According to the NBA Salary Cap FAQ, "tampering is when a player or team directly or indirectly entices, induces or persuades anybody (player, general manager, etc.) who is under contract with another team to negotiate for their services. The NBA takes tampering very seriously and may impose stiff penalties if it is discovered.."
I asked Fisher via email to clarify his association with the Mavericks and the ownership of this web site.
As far as what he prints and why, thats up to him. Im not involved at all. Not even a little tiny bit. You have to discuss that with him.
Its hard to tamper when you dont have any idea whats being written, wouldnt you say ?"
Time to step away from the blog and get a real job."