Commissioner Adam Silver says tanking 'has no place in our game'

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Last week, the NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for talking about possibly tanking the season. This week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has backed this fine up by sending out a memo to all 30 NBA teams stating that tanking "has no place in our game."

Silver wrote in the letter which was obtained by USA Today Sports: "Over the past several seasons, discussions about so-called 'tanking' in the NBA have occurred with some frequency, both in the public discourse and within our league, and you as governors have taken steps to address the underlying incentive issues by adopting changes to our draft lottery system that will go into effect next year.

"Throughout this period, 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.

"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."

Silver also mentioned in the memo how important it was to keep the integrity of the league intact, and how much tanking a season could damage that.

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"The integrity of the competition on the playing court is the cornerstone of our league. It is our pact with the fans and with each other, the fundamental reason we exist as a preeminent sporting organization, the very product that we sell.

"With everything else changing around us, it is the one thing in our league that can never change. We must do everything in our power to protect the actual and perceived integrity of the game."

The NBA commissioner concluded his memo by commenting on the one team that reports have stated could be tanking the season in the Mavericks. He said he's received no evidence to believe that is true.

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"We have no basis at this time to conclude that the Mavericks team is giving anything less than its best effort on the court, and Mark has assured us that this is not the case. But even a suggestion that such conduct could be occurring is obviously damaging to our game, as it creates a perception of impropriety.

"It is also extraordinarily unfair to the players and coaches who are, in fact, competing at their highest possible level every night. You are therefore advised to avoid such statements, and to pass along this admonition to all other key personnel in your organizations. We will continue to monitor closely the play of all teams during the remainder of the season."

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