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NBA GM's "Outraged" Over LeBron James' Comments About Anthony Davis

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A few days ago, LeBron James commented on the idea of the Lakers acquiring Anthony Davis.

“That would be amazing,” James told ESPN. “That would be amazing, like, duh. That would be incredible.”

The comments seemed harmless in principle -- he was asked by reporters, and responded honestly, making no indication to anyone that there was some hidden agenda behind the words. Nevertheless, it's those same comments that are causing a bit of an uproar in NBA front-offices around the league.

"If these are the rules, enforce them," one Western Conference general manager told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. "If you want to push Anthony Davis in L.A., if you allow LeBron to interfere with teams, then just do it. Change the rules, and say 'It's the wild, wild west and anything goes.' But give us a list of the rules that you're enforcing, and give us a list of the rules that you're going to ignore."

"It's New Orleans' problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us," an Eastern Conference general manager added. "It's open season on small markets and our players."

NBA tampering rules do not prohibit players from talking publicly about the possibility of playing with players on other teams in the future. They also do not prohibit players under contract with different teams from talking privately together about joining up.

So, technically, LeBron James didn't break any tampering rules with his statements. Of course, small-market teams would argue that he did. The rule mandates a fine to any player who "directly or indirectly, entices, induces, persuades or attempts to entice, induce or persuade any player, coach, trainer, general manager, or any other person who is under contract to any other member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services."

By making his statements publicly, the case could be made that the media whirlwind that resulted is indirectly playing a part in how his upcoming free-agency is playing out.

It's a very grey line because LeBron's comments aren't necessarily anything unheard of. Giannis literally said earlier that he'd love to team up with Davis, not to mention the overwhelming amount rumors, speculation and whispers regarding a number of other teams trying to make a case for the All-Star big man. And then there are the Clippers trying to recruit Toronto, by sending their reps to watch the Raptors games.

Do these instances create a toxic situation for small-market teams? Of course. They have a right to be angry. But is it against the rules? That topic is much more up for debate.