Yes the guidelines affect everyone, even among the all-time championship-winningest coaches. Phil Jackson, former Chicago Bulls head coach and current New York Knicks President has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for tampering.
It’s fairly well-known to even casual sports fans that while someone is under contract, she or he is unavailable to be spoken to unless a request is made to the (contract) owning party or it is deeded applicable by the league.
In this particular case the player in question is Derek Fisher, who played under Jackson while he coached in LA, and a person who Jackson see’s as capable of teaching and running his famed “triangle offense.” The thing is that in a media conference the other day Jackson mentioned Fisher who had been during the time still in the playoffs & not even a free agent, but will be at the end of this season.
This is considered tampering by the league because even though Jackson hasn’t talked with him directly, media outlets were used which may (and most likely would) reach Fisher, thus tampering with the plans/mindset of someone currently under contract with another organization.