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Tampering in the NBA? Say It’s Not True! Owners Want Changes NOW!

July 25, 2019 - 5:10 pm

According to ESPN insider reports coming out the NBA board of governors meeting in Las Vegas, the big money owners are really upset about the way free agency went down this year. The biggest concern the owners have about the free agency experience is tampering.

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On the first day of the 2019 NBA free agent signing period, almost $3 billion – that is not a typo – in new contracts were signed by NBA players. Let’s be honest, you do not negotiate $100 million-plus deals in two hours which is the owners point. Talks had to be taking place before the official window for negotiations opened.

The association’s general counsel – Rick Buchanan – gave the owners a straight forward message on how the league can deal with the charges of tampering. Buchanan said the owners could set up a strict set of rules that would allow charges of tampering to be forcefully investigated. He asked the governors if they would accept the seizure of servers and cellphones. Reportedly that visual caused the room to go silent.

The commissioner does have the power void contracts that violate the league’s rules. That happened in 1996 when the contract between Juwan Howard and the Miami Heat was voided. The owners did not jump at the opportunity to have contracts torn up.

One of the biggest complaints from the owners was player to player tampering. Many appeared to be unhappy about players recruiting other players to join them in other cities. Unless they draft a rule that players cannot speak to any other except members of their current team, it would be impossible to prevent such recruiting efforts. Plus, the players association would file a grievance before the ink was dry on the paper outlining the new rule.

The owners are also concerned about players on different teams but represented by a common agent attempting to join up on the same team. Again, how is the NBA going to stop such conversations between players and agents? Unless everyone agrees to be “bugged” 24 hours a day, there is virtually no way to prevent players with the same agent from making plans to play together.

The NBA owners were also confused about players leaving money on the table to join up and go to new teams with their friends. For example, Kevin Durant walked away from $57 million by going to the Brooklyn Nets who could only sign him for four years instead of the five year contract the Warriors could have given him. The owners are trying to get their heads around the fact that there are things more important than money to the players. (Get the duct tape – the top of some owner’s heads are about to come off!).

Michael Jordan – head of the Labor Committee – indicated that the rules of free agency may need to be revisited in the next collective bargaining agreement. Yeah, good luck with that, Michael!

-Charlie O


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