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Did The Hornets Tamper With Peja?

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Henry Abbott's back from paternity leave at True Hoop, and he has a post connecting the dots on possible tampering by NOOCH's Byron Scott. Scott, who was a Rick Adelman assistant in Peja's early days in America, tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

"Every time we played against Sacramento, Peja and I would always exchange hugs and talk. We kept our relationship going. When I saw an opportunity where he was going to be a free agent, I just wanted him to know that we were going to be calling. We weren't breaking any rules or anything, but I wanted him to be aware how interested we were as a basketball team."

Abbott lays out the rules on tampering, which a) seem pretty strict and b) seem enforceable on the surface here.

But Abbott is talking about Indiana's role. Indiana ended up working out a sign-and-trade to get a (massive) trade exception out of the Hornets. They aren't likely to complain, as Abbott says.

But what about Sacramento?

Peja played against New Orleans twice as a King and twice as a Pacer. The Kings/Hornets tilts include that woeful season opener, where the Kings got smoked 93-67.

Remember when Peja was complaining that the trade rumors were hurting his game? That the uncertainty wasn't letting him concentrate on the game? (Nevermind that Peja  requested a trade before the previous season.)

It wouldn't be unreasonable to blame Byron Scott for a slice of that. As much fault the Peter Vesceys and Charles Barkleys of the world have in the destruction of Peja Stojakovic's psyche, so does Scott. You don't talk to opposing players about their pending free agency. There are rules against it. It's one thing David Stern takes very seriously (see: Joe Smith).

Do the Kings deserve an investigation into Scott's behavior and possible compensation?