Atlanta Hawks marketing letter mentions Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, could be tampering

USA TODAY Sports

Breaking news: Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are respective members of the Lakers and Clippers until July 1.

The Atlanta Hawks' marketing department wants to get a leg-up on sales, and with cap space and wiggle room to make some big changes this offseason, that's fair enough. But it's almost a month until July 1 drops and this summer's crop of free agents comes off their current contracts. Marketing with other teams' players is a no-no.

Somebody might want to let the Hawks know that.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a letter sent by one member of the team's marketing department led with a title of "Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard," before beginning with the following:

"The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. 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."

Uh, oh.

The NBA has an anti-tampering policy that keeps teams from talking about potential free agent targets until they are actually free agents. Again, that's July 1. Before, the NBA has taken the practice of fining teams quite seriously.

During LeBron James' upcoming free agency, Suns general manager Steve Kerr, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon were all fined varying degrees for either mentions or answering a question specifically about James.

This appears to be an anti-tampering infraction. In the case of the Hawks, it appears less serious because it's the marketing department looking to sell tickets rather than a front office hoping to get a jump start on recruiting a free agent. Still, Atlanta is technically using other teams' players to market themselves, which probably won't go over all that well either.

(h/t Ball Don't Lie)

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