LOS ANGELES: The Houston Rockets have been fined $150,000 for prematurely commenting about new acquisition Dwight Howard, the NBA confirmed on Tuesday.
The league has a moratorium on teams discussing personnel business until players officially sign on Wednesday.
Howard made waves across the league by verbally committing to the Rockets on Friday rather than returning to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Amidst the excitement, both the Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale publicly commented on securing Howard to draw the penalty.
Howard is set to officially sign a four-year, $88 million contract to join the Houston franchise.
Still reeling after Dwight Howard’s decision to leave Los Angeles for Houston last week, the Lakers were hastily installing backup plans on the eve of the National Basketball Association’s free-agent signing period.
Long handicapped in their bid to recruit new players because of a hefty payroll, the 16-times NBA champions have lined up former Clippers center Chris Kaman on a one-year deal to help fill the gap left by Howard’s departure.
Given the addition of Kaman will soak up virtually all of the Lakers’ “mini” mid-level salary exception, speculation has heightened that former defensive player of the year Metta World Peace will likely released by the franchise.
“Personally I’d keep Metta and make a run with the unit we have and just add a few pieces #keepthepeace #lakersstilldeciding,” tweeted Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion.
“No game 7 win without Metta! This is a tough day for laker nation.” Bryant was referring to the Lakers’ victory over the Boston Celtics in the concluding Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals when World Peace, then named Ron Artest, contributed 20 points in a superb all-round performance.