How Adrian Wojnarowski got Joe Dumars fined $500,000

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has broken many Pistons stories over the years, and his rapport with Joe Dumars certainly contributed. Kevin Draper at The New Republic wrote in depth about Wojnarowski, and the piece included this doozy:

In 2010, the NBA fined Dumars $500,000 for leaking multiple confidential league memos to Wojnarowski, according to multiple sources. This matches the third largest publicly known fine the league has ever handed down. The NBA decided that too many memos were making it into the media, so they conducted a sting operation over several months. They would change a few words or numbers in different team’s copies of otherwise identical memos, so that when the memos leaked they could spot the small differences and trace them back to the leaker. This approach caught Dumars red-handed, as well as an executive from another team who was fined $12,500 for leaking to a draft-focused website. Joe Dumars, the Detroit Pistons, and the NBA all declined to comment on the fine.

Read Draper’s article in full if you’re interested in the NBA’s most powerful reporter. It details a mutually beneficial relationship between Dumars and Wojnarowski, one where Dumars fed Woj info and Woj wrote positively about Dumars and the Pistons.

Draper even dug up this 2008 article about LeBron James:

The Pistons president doesn’t just have the salary cap space for the Cleveland Cavaliers star. He also has the connections and the championship credibility. Make no mistake: Detroit and Dumars are officially in hot pursuit of James – maybe even the favorite now – and it promises to be a long, agonizing two years for the Cavaliers.

Detroit doesn’t deliver the bright lights and global metropolis destination that James wants when he opts out of his contract in 2010, but two more years of watching Kobe Bryant win titles could transform his priorities. James wants badly to be considered the best player on the planet and that won’t happen until he’s a champion.

James wants a front office with a vision that honors his greatness, and make no mistake: This makes Detroit and Dumars so dangerous, makes them Cleveland’s worst nightmare. The city could justify losing its prodigal son to New York or Los Angeles, but nearby Detroit?


I’m getting irrationally and retroactively excited about the Pistons’ pursuit of LeBron in 2010. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up the summer before.