NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is hell-bent on addressing tampering issues around The Association by enforcing stricter policies and heftier penalties for those who violate them.
Among the sanctions is a $10 million fine (a double from the previous), suspensions of executives, forfeiture of draft picks, or voiding of player contracts, depending on the gravity of the offense.
In a Q&A with The Athletic, some executives around the league chimed in with their thoughts on the new rules.
Some execs don’t think the stricter policies will have a significant enough impact moving forward:
A team executive: “If I told (a team owner), ‘Listen, we’re going to get Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this summer but you’re just going to have to write a $10 million check to the league, they would’ve done it in a heartbeat. Ten million dollars doesn’t matter to these owners any more. …Everyone knows there’s a problem. No one really has any idea how to fix it. But everyone knows there’s a problem.”
A second team executive: “Do I think it’s going to curtail it altogether? No. But do I think that it will force teams to think two and three times before they make an action that would be against the rules? Yeah, I think it’ll do that.”
An executive thinks they should target agents, as well:
A third team executive: “Agents take advantage of the situation. They start talking earlier (before the July 1 start of free agency) with the teams … and then you have a bidding war. If you don’t find a way to sanction agents, it’s not going to be good enough.”
An owner had a pretty positive spin on the issue:
A team owner: “It’s Adam putting people on notice. There was too much going on, too many rumors, and anything that challenges our integrity is devastating. It ruins the league if people don’t think things are fair. Too many front office people had said, ‘Everybody does it.’”
These stern penalties may seem to be a bandaid solution by the NBA. Adam Silver will still have his hands full on this issue moving forward, and he knows it.
It’s going to be hard to monitor conversations between players, especially during the summer. These things happen everyday, and players and even executives can hit each other up anytime they want.
We shall see how the stricter policies will impact next year’s free agency.