The newest "Big 3" has landed in Miami, and how they got there is raising concerns about player tampering.
According to ESPN.com, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all met face-to-face before the July 1 start of free agency to discuss playing together.
While both the Cavaliers and Raptors have declined comment, ESPN.com reports that both teams will not push for further investigation of the matter. The Cavs reportedly want to focus on their post-James era, and Toronto would prefer to let the league handle it.
NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters he would not punish the players for any such meeting, and that players are not subject to the same strict rules as teams when it comes to tampering — except in extreme cases.
It is widely acknowledged that the three players are friendly with each other and enjoyed playing together in the 2008 Olympics. But James, Wade and Bosh may have hatched a plan to play together in the NBA as long ago as the summer of 2006, when they played on Team USA in the World Championships in Japan.
According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the idea of joining forces was the reason behind each signing new contracts in 2007 with an opt-out clause allowing them to become free agents at the same time, in 2010.
James and Wade acknowledged at a press conference Friday that the three were indeed in contact as they figured out where they wanted to sign. The possibility that the three could play on the same team was talked about "a long time ago," Wade said.
Stern has refused official comment but is expected to address the topic in an owners meeting in Las Vegas. The meeting was originally supposed to focus on labor negotiations, but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has other ideas.
Cuban told reporters that he intends to ask Stern to look into developing clearer policies with regards to tampering.
"I'm going to bring it up to the league that we really do have to re-evaluate the issue of player tampering," Cuban said in the report. "Who knows what will happen? But I have to suggest it to them because there has to be more definitive rules.
"It's not just the Cavs," he continued. "It could be any team. It could be the Heat in a couple years. I'm not saying it's going to be easy. But there has to be a way to keep these guys away from each other for the last week anyway."