July 2019 Basketball Wiretap

NBA Investigating Whether Cap Circumventing Inducements Were Offered In Offseason

Jul 24, 2019 9:17 AM

The NBA is investigating whether improper inducements were offered to players to circumvent the salary cap this offseason.

The issue was raised by multiple team owners during the NBA's board of governors.

There were also multiple reports this month suggesting that Kawhi Leonard’s representatives, in arranging his blockbuster move from the Toronto Raptors to the Los Angeles Clippers, had asked for perks that would violate the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Stephen A. Smith said Dennis Robertson had asked other teams for houses, planes and guaranteed sponsorship money. Smith added, “I have no idea whether this is true or not.” 

In another report, The Sports Network in Canada said Robertson had asked for “things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $3.5 million and penalized five first round picks due to under-the-table deals they signed with Joe Smith.

Sopan Deb/New York Times

Tags: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA

NBA Opens Investigation Into How Free Agency Operated This Offseason

Jul 23, 2019 1:29 PM

The NBA has opened an investigation into how free agency operated this offseason. The league office heard concerns from owners over the number of deals that were completed during the opening hours of free agency.

Sources tell Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst that the scope of the investigation is still being determined.

It is technically against league rules for players to tamper with each other and work together on transactions before the opening of free agency. The NBA has previously set a precedent that they wouldn't punish players as it is difficult to police play-to-player communication.

While the NBA may not eventually issue any formal punishment, it could lead to modifications of the free agency system.

Zach Lowe, Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA

Unnamed Veteran Sees Chris Paul's NBPA As Prioritizing Superstars

Jul 15, 2019 12:02 PM

The Chris Paul-led National Basketball Players Association has been viewed by some players as prioritizing superstars while overlooking the middle and lower classes.

“They advocate for the interests of max players and super-max players,” one veteran player said of Paul to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic. “Basically, the CBA has helped the whole banana boat crew from back in the day. It’s taken from the midlevel. I think middle-tier players aren’t getting that mid level money anymore.

“I think just that huge super max has had cost. Teams are putting all their eggs in one basket to keep that super-max guy. It’s dried up the salary cap. I don’t see it as sustainable long term.”

Superstar players tend drive the value of the NBA both on and off the court and the existence of the max has long been argued as artificially keeping down their salaries and subsequently allowing the middle class to be paid well.

Many quality teams have also seen an advantage in finding rotation players on minimum deals as a competitive advantage, which has impacted mid-tier salaries. 

Strauss added that "Some players around the league laughed when union president Chris Paul and his massive contract got dealt to the rebuilding Thunder for Russell Westbrook."

Ethan Strauss/The Athletic

Tags: Chris Paul, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Adam Silver: Shorter Contracts Are Working Well For NBA On Balance

Jul 10, 2019 4:44 PM

Adam Silver spoke about how the shortening of NBA contracts has helped foster increased player movement.

"Let me begin with player movement," said Silver. "We knew when we shortened contracts several years ago that the math would be the case that with shorter contracts you’re going to have more free agency, more player movement in the summer. It’s always a two-edged sword. On one hand, it creates a sense of renewal in a lot of markets. It gives teams an opportunity to rebuild. But the downside, of course, is for other teams, they potentially lose players.

"I also think that with shorter contracts, it creates more often a sense of urgency with players. It creates greater incentives for performance. I think on balance it’s working well. We didn’t do it to create more interest in the offseason, but obviously it’s created extraordinary media interest and fan interest. For the most part, that’s been something that’s positive."

RealGM Staff Report


Adam Silver Suggests Expansion Focused On Growing Entire NBA Instead Of Adding New City

Jul 5, 2019 11:21 AM

Once again, Adam Silver reiterated this week that the NBA is not currently considering expansion in the near future.

“(Expansion is) not on our agenda right now," said Silver in Las Vegas on the eve of Summer League. "Invariably, one day it will be again, but all of our attention has been focused on the performance of the 30 existing teams.

“There’s no doubt there are a number of cities in the United States that could host NBA basketball, but we analogize it to selling equity. I think we would want to make sure at the time we expanded we felt it would help grow the entire league and not just support the NBA in that particular city.”

Las Vegas has been mentioned as a possible NBA city along with Seattle, Mexico City, Vancouver, Louisville and Kansas City.

One of those cities may get an NBA team via relocation before expansion, but Silver said no teams are currently considering relocation.

“I never didn’t feel well about where they are,” Silver said. “There have been no indications from any of our current franchises that they’re considering relocating.”

Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal


NBA Has Tolerant Stance With Tampering As Long As Free Agent's Season Is Over

Jul 2, 2019 9:35 AM

Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst discussed how the NBA handles the issue of tampering, indicating that those within the league are tolerant of tampering with a player once his season ends and is about to enter free agency. They do have a problem, however, with interference by a rival team before then.

"It's the nature of the beast," said Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod. "So people you'll hear a lot of, when those deals get reported and we know they're done ahead of time, they'll say, 'Well, this is why the NBA doesn't enforce tampering. They shouldn't enforce tampering. We all know it's going on here.'

"I would counter with this: when the season ends and a player's season is over and either they don't make the playoffs in April, or he gets eliminated May 10th. Whatever it is. It is generally accepted among other general managers that, okay, it's open season on our player now. The season is over. He's not under contract anymore. Maybe he's going to opt out on June 20th, but we know he's opting out. We know what goes on and we all accept that because many of us, I don't want to say everyone, but it's pretty close. Everyone is going to do that.

"To compare that to as one general manager said: 'there's tampering and then there's interference. Don't interfere with my team.'

"That's when a guy has a year left on his contract. Two years left on his contract and you're trying to get a guy to either force a trade. You're trying to get a guy to..whatever it is. Now you've got involved with somebody's team during the season with multiple years left on his deal. I don't know how you can compare that to what goes on after the season, and I think people, if we're leaving in the real world...You can call it all tampering, but it's a pretty clear distinction."

Windhorst spoke to how the NBA draft combine in May has become a de facto start to free agency.

"That's essentially when free agency opens," said Windhorst.

"That's right," said Wojnarowski.

Adrian Wojnarowski, Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA CBA