- The NBA Board of Governors unanimously passed strict rules to crack down on tampering.
- The new rules include random audits of five teams’ communications with other front offices and player agents.
- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the consequences would be severe, with the possibility of suspensions, fines, and the loss of draft picks if teams break the rules.
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After perhaps the wildest offseason in NBA history, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously voted to pass new rules to prevent tampering and salary cap circumvention.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the news at a press conference on Friday, saying, “There is a significant threat if a team does not comply there will be consequences.”
Among the new rules is a random audit of five teams’ communications with other front offices, players, and agents.
The new audit rule seems to be a response to previous arguments that the NBA can’t stop tampering because they can’t sit in on or check on teams’ communications.
According to Silver, punishments for tampering can include suspensions, fines, and loss of draft picks.
The new rules come after a hectic summer in which several deals with free agents were already completed and announced when free agency began at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.
ESPN reported in July that an NBA owners meeting during the Las Vegas Summer League turned heated about the disregard of the rules. ESPN reported that the NBA’s general counsel Rich Buchanan told team owners in attendance that enforcement would mean “seizing servers and mobile phones.”
The audit creates a slippery slope for the NBA and its teams. Silver on Friday said the NBA wouldn’t look into matters beyond the scope of its investigations unless there is a matter that needs addressing. According to reports, some wonder what will happen if the NBA stumbles onto problematic information beyond what was initially investigated.
The new rules also aim to crack down on teams offering benefits beyond the salary cap to recruit star players. According to ESPN, teams felt “the recruitment of Kawhi Leonard became fraught with charges that his uncle and advisor, Dennis Robertson, requested benefits outside the boundaries of the salary cap.”
Nonetheless, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that one GM already knows teams will find new ways to get around the rules.
“I’ll follow the rules,” an unnamed GM told Wojnarowski. “Until I find out others aren’t, and I’m at a competitive disadvantage.”
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