For now, newly appointed Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is committed to keeping Beal in Washington. “The way that I look at this is pretty simple: If you were looking to build a team, Brad would be the type of player anyone would want to start with,” Sheppard told CBS Sports. “You look at the character, the talent, the age, just the whole package … Brad is without a doubt a core player in this league. Every team would love to have him, and we do.”
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Tommy Sheppard: “So we’ve never considered anything other than a situation where Brad is with us and leading us forward. We made that clear to him on the first day we could offer him an extension, and we’ll continue to make that clear.”
Beal checks the age and fit boxes. Whether he has enough raw, supernova talent — Beal has made one All-Star roster and zero All-NBA teams — is something each suitor will have to decide based in part on who is already on its team (and if the Wizards ever make Beal available, which they have not, per sources).
But if Beal decides to move on from Washington and become a free agent in 2021, the associate — who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak on Beal’s behalf — said he expects the Heat to receive serious consideration. The associate would not call the Heat or any specific team the favorite if Beal decides to leave Washington, noting other teams also would be considered.
The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. What we know for sure is the Heat loves Beal and hopes to land him either before 2021 free agency or during. We also know that for whatever reason, Jimmy Butler followed Beal recently on social media.
As we reported in early July, that scenario has been seriously discussed inside the Heat and there’s sentiment to do that, because of how much the Heat loves Beal and because of the internal belief that Miami can get Wall back to All-Star level following his ruptured Achilles, which is expected to sideline him this upcoming season. But the Wizards have shown no inclination to package Beal with Wall in an attempt to purge the final four years and $171 million of Wall’s contract.
If Beal passes on the extension, the Wizards have no plans to engage in trade talks with two years, $55.8 million left on his contract, Sheppard said.
Barry Jackson: Next significant event for Heat could be re-engaging with Wizards if Beal rejects three year, 111 M extension he’s eligible to sign after July 26. For now, Wizards have rejected all trade overtures on Beal, a potential 2021 free agent
John Wall or Bradley Beal, Wizards: League sources say that Beal isn’t currently available, though that could change by the deadline.
Bam Adebayo: Hey Big Head 👋🏾
Meanwhile, even though the Heat has displayed strong interest in trading for Washington guard Bradley Beal, Wizards vice president/basketball operations Tommy Sheppard told The Athletic that Washington has given no thought to trading Beal. “Not at all,” Sheppard said. “It’s never crossed our mind. Bradley is somebody we’re building around. He’s been involved with everything we’re doing in the draft, free agency. We need his opinion. We want this team to be a reflection of what he is all about.”
According to sources, there is sentiment inside the the Heat to take the final four years and $171 million of injured point guard John Wall’s contract if it would allow Miami to land Beal, who is eligible for free agency in the summer of 2021. But Washington appears unwilling to do that at this time.
A secondary market is now developing for players available via buyout and trade. With next summer’s free-agent class less deep, front offices expect trades to take center stage over the next 12 months. One name on everyone’s lips in this regard is Bradley Beal as the Washington Wizards face a significant rebuild. But as of now, sources said, the Wizards are resisting such inquiries.
The Wizards have no interest in trading Bradley Beal right now. Things can change. Such is life. But they have no interest. And by the way, beyond all the salary Miami would have to give back for Wall/Beal, Heat are hard capped Bc of Butler S&T. I can’t see it happening.
While his name surfaced in trade rumors following John Wall’s season-ending Achilles’ injury in February, Beal said that Leonsis, Sheppard and Coach Scott Brooks have each independently told him in recent weeks that he would not be moved. “They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal said. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. . . . It’s great having that peace of mind.”
Boston missed out on Davis, but don’t think he was Danny Ainge’s only target, especially with a trove of young players and draft picks that he can dangle to upgrade the roster. “What is Danny Ainge planning that we’re not thinking of right now?” says a league source. “I’m sure Danny has something up his sleeve.” Multiple sources point to Bradley Beal as prime option—particularly if Irving leaves. Beal is coming off his best season and showed a wider range of skills after the Wizards lost John Wall at the end of December.
While the Washington Wizards struggled defensively last season, the organization is holding firm when it comes to rebuffing offers for Bradley Beal. The New Orleans Pelicans showed sincere interest in the two-time All-Star before Saturday’s blockbuster that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. That curiosity remains and the two sides broadly discussed a trade scenario involving Beal, multiple sources told NBC Sports Washington.
The Pelicans are open to dealing the newly acquired fourth overall selection in Thursday’s NBA Draft according to numerous reports. New Orleans also landed three young players from Los Angeles — Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart — plus additional future picks and pick swaps. Whatever the initial parameters, the conversation never veered close to actual negotiations, according to a source.
Either way, this saga needed a finale, and the Pelicans’ future is set up nicely now. They have a bevy of young, talented pieces coming in, and soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson ready to be the face of the franchise along with Jrue Holiday. Griffin has been open to moving the No. 4 overall pick, and one player league executives believe the Pelicans are monitoring in a potential trade is Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, sources said. But Wizards interim president Tommy Sheppard is running the Washington front office as of now, and the franchise has been adamant for months that it hopes to build around Beal.
League front-office sources don’t expect the Wizards to even consider moving Bradley Beal unless offers are overwhelming. And they could be. Beal made a leap last season as a playmaker while maintaining his versatile scoring at a higher volume, and he turns 26 this summer with two years left on his contract. Maybe if Durant goes to the Nets, the Knicks get desperate. The Rockets reportedly offered four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler, what would Houston give up for Beal? The Wizards may not want to deal their only healthy All-Star, but with only two years left on his contract, now’s the time for teams to start calling and for Washington to start listening.
If Leonsis insists on keeping Beal, as league sources indicate remains his thinking, well, you can’t dismiss that as folly. Having asked a few people around the league who know what they’re doing, a number of them said if they were in Washington’s shoes, they’d hold onto Beal and figure out the rest later.
Bringing young, impressionable players into the fold won’t solve all issues if the culture reeks. That’s not to suggest what the Wizards have is rotten even though last year’s laborious start to the season stemmed in part from a contentious vibe. It’s to say that the mature Beal, a natural leader despite not turning 26 until next month, is the tone-setter this franchise needs. “Keep Beal as the vet who sets the culture, identity,” a league source familiar with the Wizards’ situation told NBC Sports Washington.
If there’s a deal with the Lakers, most sources would want Ball involved regardless of any parent distractions from his attention-seeking father, Lavar. “People just don’t grasp how good he is,” a source said.
The Lakers have other players they’re targeting in trades, according to league sources. Chief among them is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, though with the Wizards not yet hiring a front office honcho, no decision has been made whether to trade Beal. But LA will be in position to make an attractive offer if Beal is put on the block.
If Beal gets All-NBA honors, he will be eligible for a supermax contract. It wouldn’t begin until the 2021-22 season, but it is projected to be worth $194 million over four years. His deal would start at over $40 million annually. The Wizards already have John Wall signed to a supermax deal, which kicks in next season. He will be making $43.9 million in 2021-22. He and Beal would account for roughly three-quarters of the salary cap that season.
As long as Beal, who turns 26 in June, remains an All-Star talent and under contract, they have options. If they felt they had to trade him, they could get plenty of assets in return. It would just be a difficult and possibly ugly process to go through. It all hinges on the All-NBA announcement. If Beal doesn’t make the team, everyone moves on like nothing happened. If he does get it, everything changes for him, the Wizards and their offseason.
The Wizards could, in theory, sign Beal to a supermax and just deal with it later. They would have two full seasons before the contract begins. By then, Wall should be healthy and have at least a full year of games under his belt and maybe more if he returns next season. But delaying the inevitable is not a sound strategy. If extending Beal backfires either as a singular move or in conjunction with Wall’s deal, it could strap the franchise for many years to come. All of this makes a supermax offer in the event Beal becomes eligible potentially a decision so massive it could be the most important call the next GM makes in their entire tenure in Washington. And that GM may have to make that decision within months of taking the job.
Do you start to build a new team around him — maybe by taking a point guard with what should be a top-10 pick in the draft, and try to again play fast next season? Or do you move Beal, at the absolute apex of his value, coming off his best season, and having proven he can get through 82 games relatively unscathed? “I’m not saying you have to trade him,” an executive from one of this year’s top teams told me on Monday — before the Wizards announced Grunfeld’s dismissal. “But you do have to think about it.”
Chris Haynes on which star may be available next: “I just got Bradley Beal on my podcast and I straight up told Bradley, ‘Man, look, the Washington Wizards probably should’ve broken this team up a few years ago.’ John Wall is out for a year. They traded Otto Porter. Is Bradley Beal the next guy? Is it time to move on [from him]? I think Washington has to do some self-reflecting. It may be time to move on from Bradley. And Bradley isn’t the type of guy who’s going to ask [for a trade] or want out; he’s a loyal dude. He’s a real loyal dude. But it might be in their best interest to trade him.”
You were mentioned in trade rumors quite a bit earlier this season. How did you react to that? Bradley Beal: I wasn’t bothered, honestly. In a way, it’s kind of [confirmation] teams want me. It’s kind of [flattering]. In a way, it’s like, “Dang, this is pretty cool.” But, at the same time, I hate change. You never want to have up and move, you don’t want to have to leave [for a new team and city].
The Wizards tried their best to put to rest any notion Beal could be gone last week. The team never engaged in trade discussions involving Beal before Feb. 7’s deadline, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. And team president Ernie Grunfeld told The Athletic last week that he has “no intention of trading Bradley.” “We wanna have him as part of our group moving forward for a long time,” Grunfeld said.
Beal, though, can already imagine the drawbacks of requesting a trade. He sees the mess that Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are dealing with in New Orleans and doesn’t want that for himself. “I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me,” he said.
“Until the team doesn’t want me anymore, I’m gonna be here,” he said. “I’m here. I’m a Wizard, day in and day out. They pay me and I have to show up and do my work. Until that changes, that’s who I’m loyal to.”
“I kinda hate it. I hate super teams,” Beal said. “And that’s just me. … Like everybody, just get your own team and just try to win with what you’ve got. But it’s like you need five All-Stars to win, especially to beat Golden State at this point. Granted, that’s everybody’s measuring stick: Golden State. They’ve got four, five, six guys on their team that are probably All-Stars, so it speaks for (itself).”
Beal, though, insists that isn’t in his nature. “Granted, it goes both ways,” Beal said of wanting to stay with one team. “They can say they won’t trade you and [then they do.] It’s a business at the end of the day, but believe me… my parents [raised] me on loyalty and just constantly even keel no matter what. Tough time last not always, but tough people do.”
The core duo remaining from an eroded big three could be sticking around longer than the mere remainder of this struggling year. Wall’s recent Achilles’ rupture matched with a pending maximum extension makes him one of the league’s most difficult players to trade. And the organization intends to keep Beal beyond this summer, team president Ernie Grunfeld told The Athletic in an exclusive interview Thursday afternoon. “We have no intention of trading Bradley,” Grunfeld said, when asked if the Wizards would trade Beal before his contract runs up after the 2020-21 season. “We really like his development and the way his game has improved over these years: his character, his work ethic. And we wanna have him as part of our group moving forward for a long time.”
Washington, not surprisingly, has no intention of trading two-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal, a source tells NBC Sports Washington, despite having moved forwards Otto Porter and Markieff Morris the evening before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
After months of speculation surrounding the future of players like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. amid the Wizards’ struggles, team owner Ted Leonsis went on the record to confirm his star players won’t be involved in trade talks ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. “I love when they go, ‘trade Bradley Beal. Trade John Wall. Trade Otto Porter.’ And I go ‘ok, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players… wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core,” Leonsis said during an interview with WTOP radio.
Noah Frank: On possibility of dealing Wall, Beal, Porter before NBA Trade Deadline: “We’re not trading any of those players”
The Wizards have operated as such to this point. They’ve received plenty of calls about Bradley Beal, who is bound to make his second ever All-Star Game when reserves get announced next week, but haven’t engaged in any trade talks involving him, according to multiple sources.
The Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic are still competing for a playoff berth, but both teams are preparing for the deadline with the awareness their moves will be made based upon whether the team is trending upward or down as Feb. 7 approaches, sources said. Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is not going anywhere, which Washington has made adamantly clear, league sources told The Athletic. Depending on how the next week to two weeks shape up, the Wizards could look more aggressively toward moving Otto Porter. The Utah Jazz have been an interested suitor for Porter, league sources said. Beal has helped lead the Wizards to seven wins in their past 10 games, carrying a squad that lost All-Star John Wall to season-ending heel surgery before the New Year.
Ted Leonsis expressed firmly what team officials have been indicating for weeks, that if they are active at the trade deadline, it won’t be with deals involving their main guys. That means Beal is highly unlikely to be dealt. Otto Porter Jr. can be considered similarly and John Wall should go without saying given his current injury status and hefty trade kicker.
That’s why is hasn’t come as a surprise that a conga line of contenders have kicked the tires on Beal, by far the Wizards’ most valuable—and most tradable—asset. Multiple team executives and agents tell Bleacher Report the impending Feb. 7 trade deadline is expected to be a busy one and that Beal’s talent, sharpshooting, versatility, age (25) and contract (two years and $56 remaining) make him one of the most coveted assets in the marketplace. “There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal,” a Western Conference executive told B/R.
The Wizards haven’t shown any interest in dealing him, from everything I’ve gathered. But if any team blew any other out of the water with a major offer for any player, said team would have to think about it. Beal could get back picks and young players. Teams value him that much at this point. But I don’t think the Wizards want to get rid of their top guy, and I don’t blame them.
I don’t personally think the Wizards need to trade Beal. He has three years left on his contract and at a reasonable price. (He’s owed about $81 million during that time.) He’s playing like a surefire All-Star. If the Wizards want to break it down, there’s no reason to sell their best player for even 99 cents on the dollar. That said, I’ve spoken to smart, smart people in the NBA, people whose opinions I respect a lot that think the Wizards should think about parting with him. He could bring back a bunch. And if you’re not going to win with this group (which it looks like you won’t), the argument is, get as many picks or young pieces as you can and form a new core. Wall’s deal matched with his injury make him an unlikely trade candidate.
I honestly am not totally sure of how they’re going to play this. They have feelers out there for some guys, including Otto Porter. From everything I’ve heard, they’ve batted away calls about Beal. And they should be in no rush to deal an All-Star with three years left on his deal playing his best basketball ever. It’s tougher to trade Morris, who’s on an expiring deal, today since his spine injury will keep him out through the trade deadline.
There’s been chatter about the Raptors pursuing Wizards guard Bradley Beal, but Washington wants two players and two draft picks for him, according to sources. That would cost the team budding star Pascal Siakam and wing OG Anunoby, plus some filler salary and two future first-round draft picks. The Raptors already owe this year’s pick to the Spurs, and they would have to persuade Washington to take a pick as far out as 2023.
Rod Beard: I’ve heard that the market for Bradley Beal could be something like two first-rounders, a young asset and another player. That’s the ante — just to get put the admin assistant to put the call through.
Chris Mannix: Expect teams to really start banging down the Wiz door w/offers for Bradley Beal. Beal having another All-Star level season, w/manageable contract through ’20-21.
Ironically, the team they just lost to could be a starting point for a turnaround. The belief is the entire roster is available, there are no longer untouchables, sources said. This obviously includes stars John Wall and Bradley Beal, but Houston hasn’t had any deep discussions for any Wizard yet. They merely placed a few calls, the first being two weeks ago.
After the game, Beal was asked by NBA TV’s Dennis Scott to address the report that he wanted out that came out earlier Monday. “That’s nonsense,” Beal said. “I heard it earlier before the game and I was like if it ain’t come from the horse’s mouth, it wasn’t me. I got this Washington jersey on, I come out and work everyday until otherwise. This is where I want to be.”
Candace Buckner: (1/2) Just spoke with Bradley Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, re: the report that cites a source who says Beal wants out of Washington. Bartelstein strongly denies the report. Bartelstein on the Beal report: “That is absolutely not true. The only sources that would know Brad thinking’s are Brad and myself. And Brad’s focus is 100% on helping the #Wizards play consistent, winning basketball.”
Nearly at the 20-game mark, the 11-8 Los Angeles Lakers look like they could be a force in the Western Conference with a little more help. How tempted would team president Earvin “Magic” Johnson be to make a play for All-Star guard Bradley Beal? “Beal would be a perfect fit next to LeBron,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “He’s a much better shooter than [Brandon] Ingram, and LeBron needs shooters.”
Maybe a veteran scorer like Beal would give James a more reliable, polished running mate than Ingram. “It’s too early to tell for Ingram,” a Lakers executive said. “Where was [Beal] at the same age?” Four years ago, Beal averaged 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game as a 21-year-old. He shot 40.9 percent from three-point range on 4.1 attempts. He made a big jump two years later to 23.1 points per night. Ingram, at 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists, probably won’t ever be as consistent an outside shooter as Beal, but Beal won’t ever have Ingram’s 6’9″ height and 7’3″ wingspan.
The Washington Wizards are floundering at 7-12. While the Wizards are only two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, the dysfunction in Washington is leading to widespread speculation that the organization will blow things up and trade away major players like John Wall or Bradley Beal. “John Wall is a very different situation [from Bradley Beal],” said Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. “You can count on one hand, and probably with just a couple of fingers places that really might have interest in taking his contract on and what it all means to bring him in. “I would never say there’s no market for John Wall, but I think Bradley Beal has a much broader market. But if Washington was going to do something, they would have to get every last asset they could for Bradley Beal.”
The Wizards are reportedly willing to trade anyone on their roster. That sparked wishful speculation around the country about Washington’s most valuable player, Bradley Beal. His apparent unhappiness only increased hope. But… Zach Lowe of ESPN: “I think what they’re asking for Beal, from what I’ve heard, makes him functionally not available. But maybe. Maybe some team throws the Brinks truck or their price comes down.”
The Charlotte Hornets have inquired with the Washington Wizards about the possibility of acquiring shooting guard Bradley Beal, an informed source confirmed Tuesday. The source didn’t identify what the Hornets have offered for Beal, a 6-foot-5 guard averaging 21.5 points this season, or whether any progress has been made toward a deal. Beal could be the second scoring option to point guard Kemba Walker this team has lacked in an 8-8 season. Walker is coming off two games in which he scored a combined 103 points. He is the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.6 points per game.
Though an ESPN report suggested that the Wizards are willing to move anyone on the roster in possible trades — including cornerstones Wall and Beal — league sources dispute whether that’s a plan the franchise is truly willing to execute. For one, the value for every Wizard, including the all-star backcourt, couldn’t be any lower than it is right now. Some have suggested that a public shaming might be a necessary wake-up call for players who have become way too comfortable with the fat contracts owner Ted Leonsis has handed out in recent years.
“With the news we had today, that’s either going to boost us or fuck us up a little bit,” Bradley Beal told The Athletic after Monday’s practice. “We’ll see. “We’ve already aired out a lot of our problems the last couple of years. It’s not like any of our stuff is a secret,” Beal said. “We just got to do it on the floor. It’s not like we have bad character guys or bad guys. We’re just not getting it [done] in between the lines… Maybe it’s entitlement. Maybe we’re too cool. Maybe we feel we can flip it on a switch. All the things we’ve said in the past that’s been a problem with us. I don’t know. That’s the annoying part about it. You can’t pinpoint it as one thing.”
In talking with people around the league, it’s clear that Beal’s value stands high and above Porter’s or Wall’s. Beal has three years and $81 million remaining on his contract, including this season, generally considered fair value.
But the Wizards have made no attempt to include Beal in any sort of legitimate trade discussions, according to sources.
Candace Buckner: While reporting this story, I’ve learned that in spite of Bradley Beal’s heat-of-the-moment comments directed at #Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, in which he said something along to the lines of ‘I’m sick of this sh –!’ … Beal has NOT requested a trade,
The Wizards’ thoughts of trading either Wall or Beal are very preliminary, according to a person familiar with the situation. By putting this information out there, they are simply letting other teams know they will listen. Despite the whirlwind of reports, any major deal would likely take a long time to orchestrate. The Wizards would likely take months to lay the groundwork, even if matters get worse on the court.
Although Washington may be floundering during a 5-11 start to the season, there is a belief that the team has zero plans to move on from either of its franchise cornerstones, based on conversations with multiple league sources who have familiarity with the Wizards and how their front office operates. A Wizards spokesman, meanwhile, cited team policy by saying President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld “doesn’t comment on rumors, so he won’t comment on this one.”
When asked if he would be “surprised” if the Wizards made a deal involving Wall or Beal, Brooks responded: “I mean, like I said, the start that we’re having, there’s going to be rumors. It’s just part of the business. It’s just part of it. I’ve been in the league a long time, that’s just always been the case.”
Shams Charania: Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: The Washington Wizards had a volatile practice within recent days, with verbal altercations among players and an exasperated Bradley Beal saying toward team officials: “I’ve been dealing with this for seven years.”
Candace Buckner: Bradley Beal on whether the report of him and Wall being made available came as news to him: “I mean, I’m not going to be naïve to it, you know. I have a phone just like everyone else, so I’ve heard those rumors weeks ago.”
Washington had hopes that forwards Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre could be centerpieces of deals that could return an impact third star, but those players have fetched minimal interest on the market. Porter has a massive contract on the books, including three years, $81 million left.
“I think they’ve had enough time, but they really haven’t (broken) through,” Dudley said. “I can see by the All-Star break or summer time one of these pieces moving. It’s going to be good for them. If it’s John, or Otto or Brad, one of them three, I think their next move is going to be good for both teams.”
Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal. But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts. My pal Zach Lowe at ESPN recently did a deep dive on just how hard Wall will be to trade once his “supermax” contract extension kicks in next season.
Minnesota passed on a Miami deal weeks ago that would’ve included guard Josh Richardson, and the Heat never returned him into talks, sources said. Washington wouldn’t offer guard Bradley Beal, sources said.
During a recent podcast, several media members discussed whether the Wizards should reassemble their roster in the offseason. They pointed to an example of what the Los Angeles Clippers did in the past year, trading Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentioned that Los Angeles would be able to pursue Beal in a potential deal.
Brian Windhorst: “If they made Bradley Beal available, I mean this is a guy with three years left on his contract, you would have multiple aggressive bids … You know what team that would be interesting for Bradley Beal would be the Clippers. They have two lottery picks. They’re in the need of a star.”
NBA Sports Wizards: “Hopefully I’ll be safe in the next 24-28 hours…I like where I’m at” Bradley Beal as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches.
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September 19, 2019 | 7:44 pm EDT Update
The Heat, with one training camp roster spot to fill, recently summoned a familiar face to team headquarters: former Arkansas point guard Daryl Macon. Macon, undrafted after being second-team All-SEC in 2018, spent summer league with the Heat in 2018 but afterward opted to sign a two-way deal with Dallas that summer instead of an Exhibit 10 contract with Miami. … He has emerged as a strong possibility for the 20th and final roster spot, though others haven’t completely been ruled out.
September 19, 2019 | 6:07 pm EDT Update
The NBA power brokers descending on New York this week for the league’s Board of Governors meeting have reacted to the league’s beefed-up anti-tampering proposal with a mix of skepticism about its potential deterrent effect and concerns of privacy. In conversations with numerous league officials, team owners, general managers and agents, there’s some uncertainty about the means the NBA might use to investigate alleged rules violations. Atop those concerns for team officials are what league sources insist was Commissioner Adam Silver toughest decision in bringing new rules to a vote: An annual, random auditing of five teams’ communications with rival front offices and player agents.
Some teams believe that the league is rushing the process of changing the rules. In reaction to the blatant disregard of free agent tampering rules and an angry owner’s meeting in July, NBA owners are faced with a vote on Friday that could reshape — even if only in mechanics — how the business of player procurement is done.
The push to strengthen tampering rules — including a huge increase in the amounts of potential fines — was born out of a historic free agent period that witnessed several stars change teams in an acrimonious climate. 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, league sources said.
Small-market teams, fearing the free agency allure of big-city rivals, may line up to support the league’s proposal on Friday – as well as teams embittered by recent free agency defections. Those who vote against the new measures risk the perception that they condone cheating, even if other reasons colored their decision. Even so, teams and league officials will address questions about privacy and the specifics of enforcement.