Adam Silver Warns Against Tanking

Written by ESPN Staff at

Commissioner Adam Silver reminded all 30 NBA teams that tanking “has no place in our game” in a memo sent last week to explain the league’s six-figure fine of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“We have been careful to distinguish between efforts teams may make to rebuild their rosters, including through personnel changes over the course of several seasons, and circumstances in which players or coaches on the floor take steps to lose games,” Silver wrote in the memo, obtained by USA Today Sports.

“The former can be a legitimate strategy to construct a successful team within the confines of league rules; the latter — which we have not found and hope never to see in the NBA — has no place in our game. If we ever received evidence that players or coaches were attempting to lose or otherwise taking steps to cause any game to result otherwise than on its competitive merits, that conduct would be met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”

Cuban made headlines earlier this month when he revealed during a podcast that he told members of the Mavericks that “losing is our best option.” The league responded Feb. 21 by fining him $600,000, citing “public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Silver mentioned “integrity” on multiple occasions in the subsequent memo, portions of which were published Wednesday as part of a USA Today report. He said the league doesn’t believe the Mavericks are tanking.

The Mavericks enter Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 19-42 record, just 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns (18-44) for the worst record in the league. The bottom eight teams in the league are separated by just 2 1/2 games in the standings.

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