The NBA’s Board of Governors formally approved a stricter series of rules and measures in an attempt to clamp down on possible tampering and salary cap circumvention, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported today. The vote was unanimous, with all 30 team governors voting to sign off on the new rules, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.
We detailed the NBA’s anti-tampering proposals in a series of stories over the the last week, though Wojnarowski cautions (via Twitter) that it’s unclear whether every one of the proposed rules will be implemented immediately. There had been league-wide apprehension about approving the proposal allowing the league to conduct random team audits each year, Woj notes. Reynolds suggests the specifics still need to be worked out on those audits.
Although teams can now be fined up to $10MM in “egregious” instances of tampering, commissioner Adam Silver admitted in a press conference this afternoon that fines can often be the least effective way to ensure compliance with the rules. Silver said that suspending executives, taking away teams’ draft picks, and even voiding contracts are all possibilities in the event of a tampering violation (Twitter link via Woj). Of course, the league would prefer to see teams simply comply with existing rules.
“We need to ensure that we’re creating a culture of compliance in this league,” Silver said, per Reynolds. “Our teams want to know that they’re competing on a level playing field and frankly don’t want to feel disadvantaged if they are adhering to our existing rules.”
General managers and player agents expect free agency to be altered by the NBA’s renewed focus on tampering, and will be more apprehensive about negotiating or agreeing to deals prior to June 30, tweets Wojnarowski. It remains to be seen exactly how effective the new measures will be though.
Here’s more on today’s Board of Governors vote, including additional details on the tampering policies and notes on a couple other league changes:
- Silver acknowledged that the NBA’s tampering rules give the league the ability to review personal electronic communication devices. That worries team officials, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that those officials have privacy concerns and want to protect their information. “None of us want people looking into their personal communications,” Silver said, per Reynolds. “But I think people who operate in a public company environment or operate in a financial world who are used to compliance procedures understand that you have to find a balance between disclosure and privacy so you can ensure that people will understand that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior.”
- Altering the start date for free agency is an idea the NBA is still considering, but it wasn’t voted on today and no changes appear imminent, according to Silver (Twitter link via Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic).
- The NBA is adjusting the language in its rule book on traveling and will formally define the concept of the “gather,” according to a press release. Getting those calls right will be a point of emphasis this season, so we’ll see whether the clarified rules have a noticeable effect on certain players in 2019/20. For what it’s worth, the league said the following: “The revision will not change the substance of the rule but will help eliminate the gap between the rule as written and how it has been applied in NBA games.”
- The Board of Governors also voted to approve a new rule that will require teams to submit their starting lineups at least 30 minutes before tip-off, rather than 10 minutes. That should be good news for daily fantasy players and sports bettors.