NBA Reportedly Investigating Whether Teams Broke Free Agency Rules in Recruiting Star Players

The NBA is reportedly looking into whether teams broke league rules on tampering and violated the salary cap this offseason. Both issues stemmed from a recent NBA board of governors meeting where several owners crowed that other team’s were using dishonest measures to lure star players to their team.

News of the tampering investigation follows a free agency period where after a suspicious number of deals for superstar players were announced almost immediately after the window began. Unnamed sources with knowledge of the issue who spoke to ESPN and the New York Times confirmed that the league is investigating on the word of team owners and several agents.

ESPN points out that more than a billion dollars worth of deals were handed down in 24 hours, something that is highly unusual. On top of that, several players appeared to work together to secure deals to the same teams, as in the case of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George going to the Clippers. Fans have repeatedly accused LeBron James of tampering and the Lakers were issued a rare fine of $500,000 for contacting George in 2017.

Beyond that, the Times reports that several teams are believed to have offered perks that would violate the collective bargaining agreement of the NBA. The Times also points to Leonard’s deal, saying that it might have asked for perks outside of salary that would violate league rules. (It was widely reported that the Clippers were helping Kawhi by buying Nike’s stake in Leonard’s Klaw logo and gifting it to him.)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver seemingly came down on the side of rewriting the tampering rules rather than enforcing them.

“I think the consensus at both our committee meetings and the board meeting was that we need to revisit and reset those rules, that some of the rules we have in place may not make sense,” Silver said, per Yahoo. “I think that’s what we discussed. I think it’s pointless at the end of the day to have rules that we can’t enforce. I think it hurts the perception of integrity around the league if people say, ‘Well, you have that rule and it’s obvious that teams aren’t fully complying, so why do you have it?’”


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