LeBron James publicly courted Anthony Davis. Many free agents seemingly struck deals before free agency even began. Kawhi Leonard‘s uncle/advisor reportedly sought prohibited extra benefits from teams.
The NBA finally reached its breaking point on tampering and circumvention.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
I’m not surprised this passed unanimously. NBA commissioner Adam Silver wanted this to happen and wasn’t going to have owners vote unless he knew it’d pass. At that point, any protest-voting owners would just put themselves at odds with the commissioner. Not worth it.
We’ll see how long this crackdown lasts. I think that anonymous general manager represents many. If nobody is tampering, it’s fine not to tamper. But if some teams tamper, nobody wants to be at a disadvantage.
This could slowly creep back toward the old status quo. But if there’s a clear violator early, Silver will have an opportunity to send a message. We’ll see whether he takes it.
This should be less about which communication is or isn’t allowed. It’s about fairness.
That’s why it’s important the NBA has rules it will enforce and only rules it will enforce. That hasn’t been the case. If it is now, this will be a success.