The Atlanta Hawks could be hit with a tampering charge after someone in their ticket-sales department sent emails out that mentioned both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard to potential season ticket buyers. Although both Paul and Howard will be free agents come July 1, the Hawks are not allowed to speak about them publicly. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the letter and Hawks president Bob Williams later issued a statement in regards to the incident.
"The letter that has been referred to was written by one of our season-ticket reps of his own volition. While certainly he is a member of our business staff, his specific reference clearly does not represent how our basketball operations or our business staff have consistently communicated about free agency. It is unfortunate that this mistake, by a single ticket rep with no ill intent, occurred."
Its very likely that no one in basketball operations even knew about this email before the report came out on Tuesday. That doesn't absolve the Hawks and they will no doubt be hit with a hefty fine for this transgression but this incident probably has already gotten more attention than it deserves.
This isn't the first time that the franchise has been hit with a tampering charge. Part owner Michael Gearon was fined in 2010 while answering questions about the team and the luxury tax. If you remember the Hawks played virtually the entire season with the league minimum of 13 players in an effort to stay out of the tax. Gearon said that ownership would go into the luxury tax territory for the right player and mentioned LeBron James as an example. Gearon was hit with a $25,000 fine by the league.
Its an unfortunate mistake by someone pushing season tickets for a team that is very often forgotten in the city of Atlanta. Move along, nothing to see here.