Fining the Hawks’ Gearon is yet another unfunny NBA joke

Michael Gearon Jr. — the new Mark Cuban.

Just kidding. Gearon is to Cuban as Joni Mitchell  is to Lady Gaga.

And I’m not trying to suggest Gearon isn’t a conversationalist of the first rank — he is. Or even that Lady Gaga isn’t talented — she is. (I love both “Poker Face” and “Paparazzi.”) I’m making a distinction between understated and overt.

The Hawks’ co-owner was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday. It was the lamest fine in the history of jurisprudence. Here was the offending quote: “If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I’d do it in a a heartbeat,” Gearon said. “But am I going to do that for [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas ? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O’Neal? I don’t think so.”

There’s no denying Gearon spoke those words. I heard him. So did about a dozen other reporters. Gearon made the apparently egregious statement standing in the Hawks’ locker room the day after his team was swept by Orlando. These words were so explosive they didn’t surface until 12 days later in Michael Cunningham’s post on AJC.com. Heck, I didn’t even write them down.

Why not? Because the sentiment expressed within was the basketball equivalent of saying, “You know water? That H-2-0 stuff? It’s wet.” And Gearon’s intent wasn’t to tempt LeBron James but to say his club was, theoretically speaking, willing to spend to improve itself. And also to credit the Hawks  for eschewing bad contracts, such as Big Z’s.

The NBA gets more ridiculous with every judgment rendered. The failure to uphold the Hawks’ protest over the shot clock that didn’t reset in Cleveland on Dec. 30 was a travesty. (That decision also involved LeBron, please note.) And now a Hawks’ owner is fined $25,000 for suggesting LeBron merits big money.

I understand the league is trying to be serious about tampering, but this wasn’t tampering. This was a trifle. But it did provide a moment of amusement.

Reached by phone as he was about to leave the country Thursday — and not, it must be stipulated, to avoid paying the 25 grand — Gearon said: “If you’re asking me for a comment, my comment is, ‘No comment.’ ”

Pretty good line, you have to admit.

96 comments Add your comment

jarvis

May 27th, 2010
4:39 pm

I don’t have to admit nuttin’.

A. Williams

May 27th, 2010
4:54 pm

????? What crime are we talking about???? Calling a spade a spade? That is not breaking the law, and certainly not worthy of fining anyone 25,000.

Mike

May 27th, 2010
4:54 pm

ATL is hop hop mecca, Lebron should come anyway

HardWood

May 27th, 2010
4:58 pm

His Daddy will pay the fine for the boy.

BAMAToNE

May 27th, 2010
5:02 pm

What would happen if Gearon just refused to pay the fine?

moorman

May 27th, 2010
5:04 pm

the NBA is HALF a step from being pro wrestling anyway, i stop taking it serious long ago.

SC Dawg

May 27th, 2010
5:15 pm

Thanks for not being “First!” Jarvis.

Sprocket

May 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

If he refused to pay, Stern would just deduct it from the Hawks portion of TV money. You can’t beat city hall…no matter how dumb they are.

Art Vandelay

May 27th, 2010
5:22 pm

So, lemme get this straight: it’s perfectly fine for David Stern to rig the draft lottery, “counsel” the referees on which calls they should and shouldn’t be making against which player in a particular matchup, wrap the league’s stars in bubble wrap and protect them from criticism and accountability, and arbitrarily decide which protests are valid (Shaq vs. Atlanta) and which ones aren’t (Atlanta vs. LeBron).

But if you’re a team owner and you dare to make an off-the-cuff remark about the fact that you’d be willing to pay top dollar for the best player in the league (duh), you owe $25,000 to the David Stern Retirement Fund. Doesn’t the RICO statute cover this stuff?

Did I miss anything?

Just Another Example......

May 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

How stupid can the ASG get……….another fine example of an organization that has NO idea. After what Cuban said and got fined, you mean to say that this idiot comes right back and to a great degree say the same “hypothetical” crap…………..and you MB expect him not to be fined? Then you too sir is stupid.

Sprocket

May 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

Art…very good analysis. The reason Stern gets away with this crap is because he brings in the money…BIG MONEY. And, it’s all about the money.

Paul in RDU

May 27th, 2010
5:26 pm

On local sports radio in RDU yesterday afternoon Chris Collins picked the Lakers to go all the way and said that after working with him in the Olympics he would never bet against Kobe.
When later asked who was the best coach in the NBA – he picked his dad (no-one ever accused Dookies of being dumb!)

Is Stern going to fine Doug Collins for what is an obvious attempt at tampering to get Kobe?

Paul in RDU

May 27th, 2010
5:30 pm

Just another example… @5:26

According to MB, Geron made his comments 12 days ago. That would be a full week BEFORE Cuban made his and was fined.

Mark Bradley

May 27th, 2010
5:32 pm

That’s also before LeBron James’ team was eliminated from the playoffs, Paul in RDU, which means he technically wasn’t yet a free agent.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and Super Models, David J Carne. David J Carne said: Fining the Hawks' Gearon is yet another unfunny NBA joke: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Coming next: The NBA… http://bit.ly/aNjTzt [...]

Paddy

May 27th, 2010
5:39 pm

Great minds at ASG. What a collection of maroons! Do you think the free agents are asking the question,”is that ownership situation resolved yet”? Yea, let me go there to that unstable, broke enviroment. LOL

Just Another Example......

May 27th, 2010
5:42 pm

So I guess it DON’T matter whoever said what when……Stern still sees it as tampering. Just like he will fine the Bulls for comunicating with Phil Jackson (if it’s found to be true). That rule seems fairly clear to me.

Delbert D.

May 27th, 2010
5:45 pm

The NBA is hurting for money, I guess. Sort of like the police at the end of the month, with their hide and seek for traffic offenders.

itcouldbeworse

May 27th, 2010
5:47 pm

he is still not a free agent…not until th 1st of July when he can opt out of his contract.

TheAntiMe

May 27th, 2010
5:49 pm

It’s pretty obvious that the commish wants to see LeBron remain in Cleveland.

PlusSizeModel

May 27th, 2010
5:51 pm

The cute thing about this is NO ONE is going to be coming to Gearon about LeBron tomorrow or any time. The sad thing about this is apparently this fine will actually hurt Gearon because that may be a chunk of his net worth.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 27th, 2010
5:51 pm

Whenever the NBA levies another idiotic fine, I feel compelled to point out that Reggie Evans was only fined $10,000 and not suspended after grabbing and pulling Chris Kaman’s nuts on purpose during a playoff game.

F-105 Thunderchief

May 27th, 2010
5:52 pm

So if you own a team and say the words “Lebron James,” you need to whip out the checkbook, is that pretty much it? Stupid.

GT Alum

May 27th, 2010
5:55 pm

This is one of those situations that illustrates the idiocy of “no tolerance.” The letter of the law is that any comments about a player is tampering. However, anyone with any intelligence can see that this was not an attempt to make overtures to LeBron. As MB said, Gearon was just trying to assure his fans that ownership is willing to spend money if they think they’ll get a return that’s worth the money.

Ronald Millsaps

May 27th, 2010
5:55 pm

The NBA isn’t what it used to be, not even close.

Yeah, it’s about a half-step from pro wrestling, all right, and that half-step doesn’t get called.

feudfinder

May 27th, 2010
5:56 pm

David Stern will earn a raise very soon. What a j$$K!

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 27th, 2010
5:57 pm

Fining Geron a years pay is excessive IMO.

atlienforlife

May 27th, 2010
6:11 pm

It’s time for David Stern to be replaced. He apparently has a Napoleon complex, treating owners and player like children it’s crazy. On another note, the nba has become so soft, it’s ridiculous. The players today wouldn’t last in the 80’s or the early 90’s, jordan and the stars of his time would have a field day in this day and age of no defense. The flagrant fouls and technicals you see called nowadays are insane. By the way anybody remember the stupid idea to change the ball.your comments here

atlienforlife

May 27th, 2010
6:12 pm

It’s time for David Stern to be replaced. He apparently has a Napoleon complex, treating owners and player like children it’s crazy. By the way anybody remember the stupid idea to change the ball.

J.J.M.

May 27th, 2010
6:16 pm

what do they do with all the money? charity?

atlienforlife

May 27th, 2010
6:25 pm

why can’t I post?

atlienforlife

May 27th, 2010
6:26 pm

the nba has become so soft, it’s ridiculous. The players today wouldn’t last in the 80’s or the early 90’s, jordan and the stars of his time would have a field day in this day and age of no defense. The flagrant fouls and technicals you see called nowadays are insane.

feudfinder

May 27th, 2010
6:27 pm

Charity and pocket some.

KevinM

May 27th, 2010
6:29 pm

Well, if Stern kept up, he would have heard Rick Sund already say the Hawks would not be in the market for an elite free agent.
That’s okay to say I guess that you don’t want to be as competitive as the bigger cities, but its not okay to say that the King is going to be a free agent.

Tough set of rules we have to play by……dont worry NBA, the Hawks will continue to be the Hawks.

ryan

May 27th, 2010
6:39 pm

I like the comments maybe spirit group finaly understands that to make money you have to spend money.

moorman

May 27th, 2010
6:40 pm

the power of david sterns. he prevented the delonte west, gloria james leak, lol.

dobearsbare

May 27th, 2010
6:55 pm

I agree on the general premise. This is neither juris nor prudent.Stern is drowning in a sea of his own bs

Reid Adair

May 27th, 2010
6:56 pm

I’d be interested to know what specific question was asked by whichever reporter, Michael Cunningham or otherwise, to initiate this response.

I was also very disappointed in the flood of tweets and retweets from “ajcsportseditor” and AJC staff this morning talking all about Michael Gearon, Jr., being fined for something he said in their paper. After all that, it wouldn’t surprise me if Gearon’s response to any AJC inquiries was “no comment” for a while.

Justafan

May 27th, 2010
7:02 pm

We keep losing our rights everyday…its not just sports its everything. USA better Wake Up!

anphill2

May 27th, 2010
7:09 pm

How does David Stern make more $ than LeBron? Dwight? JJ? etc.
If you need a hall-monitor, I can be had on the cheap.

GT Alum

May 27th, 2010
7:09 pm

Reid, MC just asked about the payroll, and Gearon was trying to say that they’ll spend money when they think it’s worth the return. Cunningham didn’t bait Gearon into saying this at all.

anphill2

May 27th, 2010
7:12 pm

Starting a Franchise from Expansion, who’s your GM: Knight or Babcock?

KakNiqueTree

May 27th, 2010
7:28 pm

He should just say ‘if we could have So and So for max money blah blah blah’ Everyone would still know what he was talking about and he wouldn’t be fined a cent.

Old Hawks Fan

May 27th, 2010
7:32 pm

Where’s Captain America?

Old Hawks Fan

May 27th, 2010
7:33 pm

Ted please buy back the Braves, hawks, Thrasher…………………PLEASSSSSSSSSSSE!

Pi$$onaDAWG

May 27th, 2010
7:42 pm

DUDE can you put what your are saying in a coloring book? I went to UGA I don’t read so good.

show me state

May 27th, 2010
7:42 pm

I see the nba is strict on this “anti-tampering policy” allowing no one to even utter one word about a free agent before July 1….from a mathmatical statistic these words: “If somebody came to us tomorrow and said you can have LeBron for max money and it puts you in the luxury tax, I’d do it in a a heartbeat,” Gearon said. “But am I going to do that for [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas ? Am I going to do it for Jermaine O’Neal? I don’t think so.” costed Gearon Jr. $471.70 per word…..

mark R

May 27th, 2010
7:54 pm

“Then you too sir is stupid…????”

Really!

Section 303

May 27th, 2010
7:55 pm

David Stern can pull that stick out of his a$$ any day now. What a stupid fine.

ryan

May 27th, 2010
7:59 pm

I wish the guy who owned the Atlanta dream could buy the Hawks and Braves.