Have the Atlanta Hawks officially announced that they’re entering the sweepstakes for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul this summer?
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks sent out an email to their season ticket holders, informing them that signing Howard and Paul is becoming “more and more of a reality”:
[pullquote]The Hawks may have violated the NBA’s anti-tampering policy by mentioning Dwight Howard and Chris Paul by name in a recent letter sent to prospective ticket buyers.
Howard, who is from Atlanta, and Paul are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents July 1. As each currently is under contract, with the Lakers and Clippers respectively, a team is not allowed to speak about them publicly.
The letter, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was sent via email by a member of the ticket-sales department. It was on team letterhead and headlined “Hot New Player news: Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.” It began with the statement: “The buzz around our offseason is more than heating up. With massive cap space, 4 draft picks, and free agency rapidly approaching, we sit in the best position in the NBA. Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality.”
The letter included a link to a story on ESPN.com reporting that Paul was unhappy with the notion that he played a role in the dismissal of coach Vinny Del Negro last month.[/pullquote]
While the Hawks later said that the email was down to a solitary member of their tickets sales staff, and not a direct member of the Hawks’ basketball operations, I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Atlanta fined by the NBA in some way.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Howard and Paul have been linked to the Hawks – it seems that many executives around the league feel as if Atlanta have a good chance of landing the superstar duo.