The Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller sent an email to rival team executives late Thursday threatening possible litigation to any franchise that signs free-agent forward Darius Miles for the “purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers’ salary cap and tax positions.”
The email cites that if Miles plays in two more games this season, the remaining $18 million on his contract goes back on the Blazers’ payroll.
“The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating signing Darius Miles to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions,” Blazers president Larry Miller wrote in the email to representatives of every NBA team. “Such conduct by a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers contract rights and perspective economic opportunities.
Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.”
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert emailed Blazers president Larry Miller to say he took exception with Portland’s threat.
Yahoo! Sports obtained Gilbert’s email because it was carboned to the rest of the league’s owners and executives.
“With all due respect”although the Cleveland Cavaliers have no interest in signing Darius Miles and will not be signing Darius Miles,” Gilbert wrote, “I find your email quite peculiar from two standpoints:
1. It’s dead wrong. I believe that all 30 NBA teams were and are fully aware of the terms and provisions of the collective bargaining agreement as to which all teams and the NBA are a party to, including the Portland Trailblazers.
2. Are legal threats through a mass email the best way to circumvent the known potential consequences that could result from the Trailblazers decisions and actions they took with respect to Darius Miles?
I fully understand the frustration you and your team’s ownership must be feeling in regards to this situation, but a preemptive threat of ‘litigation’ directed at all of your partners through a group email does not sit well with me and seems to be incongruent with the spirit of keeping a ‘fiduciary duty’ and good ‘partner-like duty’ to your ‘NBA joint venturers.’
I would think there has got to be a better tactic than this one.”