New York Knicks president Phil Jackson scouted Ohio State standout freshman D’Angelo Russell last week, and Jackson offered up an innocent comment about the Buckeye guard after the game, according to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com:
“He’s a great-looking kid,” Jackson said as he headed out of the arena. “Great prospect.”
Harmless statement, right? Wrong. It’s illegal for NBA officials to comment on players that aren’t eligible for the draft, and Russell obviously isn’t eligible for the draft … yet. The Knicks will have one of the top picks in the upcoming draft, and Russell is a player sure to be on their radar.
Because of the comment, Jackson has been fined an undisclosed amount by the NBA. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the fine, and NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fine to Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
This seems like such a ridiculous fine given what was actually said, but rules are rules, I guess. This is the second time Jackson has been fined as president of the Knicks, as he was fined $25,000 for tampering with current head coach Derek Fisher when he was still a player with the Oklahoma City Thunder.