Gatling is accused of breaking into a key box and living in the vacant home from July 2010 to August 2011, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
The owners live in California but left the electricity on in the four-bedroom home, a police report says.
He later attempted to rent the home on Craigslist and received a downpayment from one potential tenant. Another became suspicious and called police, court records said.
Gatling played 12 seasons in the NBA, retiring in 2002. Attorney Michael Alarid called the case a "misunderstanding."