The Houston Rockets made one of the biggest splashes in what’s been an incredibly eventful 2019 NBA offseason by acquiring point guard Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The trade seemed to come together quickly after Paul George was dealt to the LA Clippers, but Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta violated league policy when discussing the addition prior to the deal being finalized.
According to NY Times’ Marc Stein, the NBA docked Fertitta $25,000 for his comments on Westbrook.
The Rockets were fined $25,000 over the weekend, @NYTSports has learned, for public statements made by owner Tilman Fertitta before the Russell Westbrook-to-Houston trade was officially completed
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 15, 2019
The comments that resulted in the fine obviously violated league rules because Russell Westbrook wasn’t officially a Houston Rocket at the time Fertitta was discussing him. Fertitta heaped the praise on Westbrook and also expressed his sadness in relation to the departure of Chris Paul.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 12, 2019
We’ve seen many tampering rules be ignored and thrown to the wayside by both franchises and the league office but Fertitta’s comments were too blatant of a violation to let slip through the cracks. Obviously, $25,000 really isn’t much more than pocket change for Fertitta who has a net worth of over $5 billion according to Forbes.
It’s reasonable for Fertitta to be excited about landing one of the league’s premier talents in Russell Westbrook, but it’s still important to be wary of league rules and this lack of attention will end up costing him.