Paul has three years left on his monster contract. He’ll make $38,506,482 next season, $41,358,814 in 2020-21 and has a player option worth $44,211,146 for the 2021-22 season. Paul and the Thunder likely won’t agree to a buyout, as CP3 would have to give up a lot of money. “Here’s what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that, ‘We’re not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here.’ Because they don’t want anybody to think they’re in panic trying to trade him,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s The Jump. “And they wanna hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul.”
More Rumors in this Storyline
Maddie Lee: Sam Presti on Chris Paul: “I think he has an opportunity to really impact the team in a positive way.” He would not estimate how long Paul will be with the Thunder.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the only way the Heat are going to take on Paul’s monster contract from the Thunder is if the future Hall of Famer agrees to decline that lucrative 2021-22 player option. “The other thing I heard was that it was basically if Chris wanted to get traded to the Heat now, he would maybe have had to been willing to decline his player option,” Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective Podcast.
Multiple sources told The Athletic last week that the Thunder traded Westbrook for Paul along with two draft picks and two pick-swap options, fully comfortable with the idea that Paul could be on the roster this season. And ESPN on Wednesday reported there’s an “increasing expectation” Paul will start the season in Oklahoma City given the limited trade suitors for his considerable contract.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s discussions to move nine-time All-Star guard Chris Paul to a new destination are parked, and an increasing expectation exists that he will start the season with the team, league sources tell ESPN.
Oklahoma City has been working with Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the season with the Thunder. For now, there’s a belief that there could be more success exploring trade scenarios again after Dec. 15 — or even the completion of the 2019-20 season, league sources said.
For now, Oklahoma City doesn’t feel a need to surrender draft compensation to unload Paul’s contract, sources said. The Thunder want to be competitive and believe that Paul can serve as a mentor to Gilgeous-Alexander, a second-year guard who’s considered the franchise’s future playmaker.
Adrian Wojnarowski: OKC has been working with Chris Paul and his representatives on finding a trade, but nothing is materializing so deep into summer free agency, sources said. Both sides believe there are benefits to Paul, 34, playing out the year with the Thunder.
Barry Jackson: … Heat knew deal made no sense for them otherwise because it would have restricted 2021 flexibility. Level of enthusiasm for Paul inside the Heat has been far below level of enthusiasm for Westbrook before Westbrook was traded
Steve Kyler: Having talked with a few GMs, there is almost no appetite for the final year of CP3’s deal. My understanding is the Thunder may have to shovel over several picks to get a team to look at that cap hit. Today, I think he starts the season in OKC.
Jonathan Feigen: Mike D’Antoni was effusive in his praise for Chris Paul. “I want to thank Chris and what he did for the organization and for me personally. He’s going to be sorely missed. At the same time, I’m excited about working with Westbrook and seeing what we can do.”
Mark Berman: When asked about Russell Westbrook the first thing Mike D’Antoni wanted to talk about was Chris Paul: “Chris Paul gave me some of my best years of coaching. Enjoyed every second of it. Can only thank him for all he did for Houston and what he does for the NBA every year.”
Jonathan Feigen: Thunder GM Sam Presti, in the statement on Chris Paul: “Getting a player of Chris’ caliber gives us another experienced playmaker and leader, while the additional draft picks continue to allow us to further commit to the long-term vision that we are embarking on for the Thunder.”
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey today announced that the team has acquired guard Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for guard Chris Paul, two protected first round picks, and other draft considerations.
So yes, the Heat will need some incentive to take on that hefty contract, and it appears they’re asking for just that. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on “SportsCenter” Monday night, reporting that Miami is Paul’s preferred destination. One catch — they want their picks back. OKC holds two of Miami’s future first-round selections and, according to Windhorst, the Heat want those included in a potential deal.
“When you talk about him potentially going to the Miami Heat, which is his preference, one thing I’ve been told in the talks; the fact that the Thunder hold the two of the Heat’s first-round picks in the future — unprotected 2021, protected 2023 — makes this a difficult conversation because the Heat want those picks back,” Windhorst said. “The Thunder have expressed an interest in giving one of those picks back but they would want another pick farther off into the future. So I do think that these teams have a lot to talk about.”
Rick Bonnell: I’ve been told the Hornets don’t want Paul’s contract. It’s dramatically longer and larger than Batum’s. And with Rozier here, what purpose would that trade serve?
Barry Jackson: OKC, to this point, has offered nothing enticing enough to seriously interest Heat in Chris Paul talks. Heat won’t close door if that changes, but this is OKC trying to move Paul, not Heat actively pursuing player
Less than a day after acquiring Chris Paul from Houston, Oklahoma City is trying to trade him to the Heat, according to an ESPN report. A league source told The Miami Herald that the Heat will listen and do due diligence on the matter but that the Heat does not have very strong interest and is not aggressively pursuing a trade for Paul at this time.
Miami would need to be absolutely overwhelmed to consider taking on the final three years and $124 million of Paul’s contract, considering the veteran point guard’s age (34) and lack of durability. Paul has missed 21, 24 and 24 games the past three seasons, and as ESPN’s Dan Le Batard noted, the Heat entered the offseason hesitant to commit big money to aging stars.
Multiple sources said the Thunder are comfortable with the idea of Paul on the roster next season. A core of Paul, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari — acquired along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the George trade — might not be good enough to make the playoffs nor bad enough to bottom out in the lottery.
Maddie Lee: Even if the Thunder does keep Chris Paul for the remainder of his contract, they’ll save money in 2022-23. Paul is owed $124 million over the next three seasons. Westbrook has four years and $170 million left on his contract (player option in the final year).
Presti already is working with Paul’s agents at CAA Sports — Leon Rose and Steven Heumann — to redirect the nine-time All-Star to a new team, league sources tell ESPN. The Heat are prominent in the conversations, but there are other possibilities also being explored, sources said. Presti and Rose worked together last year on a similar situation with Carmelo Anthony.
There also could be a group of high-end restricted free agents in that summer of 2021, including Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Lauri Markkanen, and Jayson Tatum. The Heat loves Beal — a UF grad and longtime admirer of Dwyane Wade — and is expected to be a serious contender for him in 2021 if he doesn’t sign an extension with Washington. Though ESPN said Miami is now a possibility to take on the last three years and $124 million of Paul’s contract, that would leave the Heat without the cap space to sign a free agent in 2021 unless Miami traded for one of those 2021 free agents in the months or year before.
Bobby Marks: Chris Paul can be traded immediately after the trade is finalized. The two-month restriction only applies if his salary is aggregated with another player on the Thunder.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta on his franchise landing Russell Westbrook in a deal that sends Chris Paul to OKC:
The Thunder could continue to work to find a new team for the 34-year-old Paul, league sources said. If the Thunder keep Paul, they’ll have a representative lineup that currently includes him, center Steven Adams and forward Danilo Gallinari.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston hoped to find third-team destination preferable to Chris Paul, but ultimately leaves it OKC to execute next step once Presti confers w/ CP3 agent Leon Rose. Miami remains possibility for Paul (3 years, $124M) — and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston hoped to find third-team destination preferable to Chris Paul, but ultimately leaves it OKC to execute next step once Presti confers w/ CP3 agent Leon Rose. Miami remains possibility for Paul (3 years, $124M) — and OKC obviously has picks to incentivize deal, if needed.
Sam Amick: Source, to the @TheAthletic: Chris Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, will talk to OKC GM Sam Presti in the coming days to determine what’s next. If CP wants to go to Miami to join Jimmy Butler, it’s clear there’s a deal to be done there. The Thunder would engage and have interest.
Ramona Shelburne: Thunder GM Sam Presti has spoken to Paul’s agent, Leon Rose, a source told ESPN. They worked together recently on a situation like this with Carmelo Anthony. Still plenty of ways this resolves though.
Ramona Shelburne: The Thunder was focused first on doing right by Russell Westbrook in this trade, sources said. He preferred Houston, a source said. Now they’ll turn their attention to Chris Paul and what he wants. Remember, CP3 began his career in OKC (relocated from NOLA briefly)
Brett Dawson: Can confirm the @Adrian Wojnarowski report that Russell Westbrook is headed to Houston for Chris Paul and a package of first-round picks and pick swaps. Houston was a preferred destination for Westbrook, and OKC worked to get him there.
Sam Amick: For those wondering, source tells @TheAthletic that OKC does this deal with full anticipation that Chris Paul will be part of a good team that now has a treasure trove of future assets. Gallinari, SGA, Adams, Roberson, Noel core, and EIGHT new 1st rounders, as @Travonne noted.
Shams Charania: Sources: Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade: 2024 first round pick, protected 1-4 2026 first round pick, protected 1-4 2025 swap, 1-20 protected 2021 swap, protected 1-4 — OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @Tilman Fertitta confirms his team has traded Chris Paul to OKC for Russell Westbrook. @Adrian Wojnarowski reported first.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti worked with Westbrook and his agent, Thad Foucher, to deliver the former MVP to his preferred destination: A reunion with James Harden, per sources.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Thunder are playing a long-game unseen in recent NBA history: Seven additional first-round picks lined up through 2026 — plus four pick swaps — via deals for Paul George and Chris Paul.
Yossi Gozlan: Thunder’s draft chest now includes (aside from their own): 2020 Nuggets (top 10 protected) 2021 Heat 2021 Rockets (swap) 2022 Clippers 2023 Clippers (swap) 2023 Heat (lottery protected) 2024 Clippers 2024 Rockets 2025 Clippers (swap) 2025 Rockets (swap) 2026 Rockets 2026 Clippers
Anthony Chiang: Chris Paul’s contract expires one season earlier than Russell Westbrook’s deal. And the Thunder added to its pile of draft picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul, first-round picks in 2024 and 2026, pick swaps in 2021 and 2025, league sources tell ESPN.
A source said that Paul would not necessarily need to be involved in a deal that delivers Westbrook to the Rockets, although his $38.5 million salary is a perfect match with Westbrook’s. Paul has $125 million over three years remaining on his contract, while Westbrook has $171 remaining over four years, including a player option for $46.7 million in 2022-23. Morey has acknowledged aggressively exploring the trade market this offseason but said recently that Paul and perennial All-NBA guard James Harden are the two players who will definitely return to the Rockets next season.
Paul never demanded a trade from the Rockets, league sources tell The Athletic, nor would there be much of a market for one. League sources said Houston officials and Paul met after the season ended in their Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals, and both sides discussed the future. Paul informed the Rockets that if they decided to go younger and move in a different direction, he would understand and be a pro about it, according to league sources.
The Rockets let Paul know that their intent was actually the opposite, however: That they wanted to keep him and keep contending in the Western Conference. For Paul, that was all he needed to hear. He’s been committed to the cause in Houston.
Rumors and speculation could not touch Chris Paul now — if they ever could — not here, not on a day like this. The Rockets guard, surrounded by his family in a break in the Go Hoop Day celebrations he co-founded, never seemed more comfortable, more in control, talking about his vision for the event and recognized by the City of Los Angeles for driving it. He had briefly addressed his place with the Rockets and future between portions of the clinics held on Sunday at Crete Academy. But there was one more point to make.
“I never asked for a trade,” Paul said. “I never demanded a trade.” He did not seem angry about the reports that he had, in part because he had nearly completed the day’s events on a near-perfect Southern California afternoon. He had stepped away for a place on nearby picnic tables, surrounded by his large family, munching on a plant-based burger from one of the event’s sponsors, Beyond Meat, as Paul completed his 11th day since becoming a vegan.
By then, the day’s celebration of basketball might have made it difficult to get too worked up over the off-season rumor mill. Paul was much more effusive about that cause, but he did briefly address speculation that he wants to leave the Rockets and that there is a rift with star backcourt mate James Harden. “I’ll be in Houston,” Paul said. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”
The Rockets recently explored trading Chris Paul into New York’s cap space, but the Knicks refused, according to league sources. Trading Paul would have positioned the Rockets to be a Clint Capela or Eric Gordon trade away from freeing up the cap space to sign Jimmy Butler, who league sources say they plan to pursue. Injuries to the Warriors opened up the West, and there’s a scramble to accumulate talent and take advantage of Golden State’s misfortune.
The Rockets recently explored trading Chris Paul into New York’s cap space, but the Knicks refused, according to league sources.
Asked if Paul or his representatives had asked that he be traded, Morey said, “No. Can you convey my disdain in my ‘no.’ It’s so annoying at this point. “I’ve talked to Chris since (they were eliminated by the Warriors), for sure. Myself, Mike D’Antoni, James Harden are all super competitive, all frustrated we were eliminated from the playoffs, all want to get over the hump. That leads to a lot of competitive fire. All of it is normal. We’re all in the same boat, pursuing the championship. We’re all frustrated we’re not there. But there is nothing past that.”
Morey, saying Paul will return for a third season with the Rockets, has characterized trade talks as typical. Known to be one of the league’s most aggressive general managers, Morey would seem limited to discussing deals involving starters, with Nene the only reserve from the Rockets’ postseason roster under contract and extremely limited in how often he is available to play. Teams are not permitted to trade players that will be free agents.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @Tilman Fertitta on James Harden & Chris Paul: “These are 2 very competitive athletes & all they want to do is win a championship together for the Houston Rockets. We’re excited to have them back and we look forward to using this opportunity to try to be successful”
Jonathan Feigen: Daryl Morey gave an example: Said he had Harden and Paul on face time with him as they discussed 50 free agents together. Said he has spoken to both players quite a few times since the season with no indications either has changed their stance.
Jonathan Feigen: A thoroughly exasperated Daryl Morey said Chris Paul and his reps have never asked to trade him and he will be on Rockets next season. Said he and Harden do not have issues with one another and that he has spoken to both often this off-season about free agency evaluations, plans.
Alykhan Bijani: Chris Paul denies Harden/Paul rumors on Instagram: “🤷🏾♂️ Damn! That’s news to me…” #Rockets
Alykhan Bijani: Daryl Morey says Chris Paul and James Harden are NOT AVAILABLE IN TRADES. “We spent a lot of time putting together two superstars. We’re trying to add a third, going backwards from that doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
The backcourt mates went nearly two months without speaking to each other during the season, sources said, creating a tenuous environment for teammates and everyone involved with the franchise. Harden hasn’t returned Paul’s repeated attempts at communicating this offseason, sources said, after a year in which the pair repeatedly got under each other’s skin with petty acts in practices and games.
“There’s no respect at all, on either side,” a source told Yahoo Sports. “They need to get away from one another. Chris doesn’t respect James’ standing in the league, and James doesn’t respect the work Chris has put in to this point.” Paul’s injury-related absences and grating personality have annoyed Harden, sources said.
Harden’s ball-dominant style and unwillingness to give others like Paul space to operate have grated on Paul, leading to the nine-time All-Star issuing his trade demand to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey after the season. Sources said Paul would curse at head coach Mike D’Antoni about the offense bogging down after Harden would ask to come into the game to join the second unit, with Paul heading to the bench. “It can’t be fixed,” another league source told Yahoo Sports about the Harden-Paul partnership.
The Rockets have had conversations around Capela — and had preliminary conversations about All-Star Chris Paul, including discussing Paul deals with teams that have the necessary cap space to absorb his three years and $125 million after the free-agency moratorium in July, league sources said.
Daryl Morey on 790: “Chris Paul Does Not Want to Be Traded, We Want to Add”
SportsTalk 790: .@SeanUnfiltered: “Does Chris Paul want to be traded?” @dmorey: “No, Chris Paul does not want to be traded.” @SeanUnfiltered: “Will you field calls on Chris Paul?” @dmorey: “No, we want to add one more star to this team.”
The Heat is expected to check in with Houston on available players (Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon) but not sure there’s an ideal match there. Memphis’ Mike Conley remains among several possibilities.
The Rockets are indeed shopping everyone on the roster not named Harden. The complexities involved in moving Chris Paul, who at age 34 has three years and nearly $125 million left on his contract, have Houston officials actively exploring the trade market for Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker.
Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul. Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they’d get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks – it’s likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target.
“Whatever it takes to get over that final hump to get a championship, that’s what we’re going to do. On the coaching front, I … recommended we make some changes. If there’s a trade out there that helps us, great, we’ll do that as well. “Our starting five this year I would put up there with anyone. If there’s a trade out there that helps, we’ll do that. We’re going to keep all of our key people.” Fertitta said there will always be “noise” about the Rockets looking to make moves because “I’m a deal guy and he’s a deal guy.”
Paul is the Rockets star who hit the trade block with a thud this week when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets were looking to clean house this offseason coming out of a disappointing conference semifinal loss to the Warriors. According to one front-office executive, a trade for Paul would be “something where if I am taking back your dead wood, you’ve got to take back some of mine.”
“As a player, of course you would take him on,” one general manager told Sporting News. “He is experienced. He is a smart guy. He can be good for young point guards to be around the way he sees the floor. But he lost a step. At the same time, he is gaining a big, big contract.” Losing the step can be seen in his play in the pick-and-roll, always a staple of his game. In 2015-16, he put up 0.94 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball hander, which was in the 89th percentile. In 2016-17, it was 0.96 points per possession, good the 83rd percentile. Last year, his first season in Houston, was one of his most efficient ever in the PNR: 1.02 points per possession, the 91st percentile.
“It will have to be a salary dump,” the front-office executive said. “You might get back a decent player and a draft pick. But mostly, it is getting that contract off your books for the next three years. Chris can’t stay healthy. He has not been the same player. It’s hard to imagine him going back to the way he was. “If you’re Houston, you’re happy just to move him along and let someone else pay him. But you’re going to have to take back a bad contract in the bargain.”
John Gambadoro: I despise this time of year for these reasons – stupid rumors. NO the Suns will not trade for Chris Paul. Any thought of such a possibility is ridiculous. It will not happen. Not sure there is a team in the league dumb enough to trade for a 34 year old with 124 mill left on deal.
Wojnarowski reports that all players under contract, besides James Harden, could be moved in the right deal. That leaves players such as aging point guard Chris Paul, the star who is reportedly in conflict with Harden. And it leaves a player like Capela, who an NBA source tells DBcom the Mavs surely envision as a fine front-court partner alongside Kristaps Porzingis.
Paul’s remaining contract (three years, $124 million) and advancing age (34) does make deal possibilities somewhat prohibitive. The Harden-Paul dynamic wasn’t without its challenges this year for the Rockets, league sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: In calls to front offices, Houston GM Daryl Morey is showing an aggressive desire to improve roster with all players and picks available in talks. Hard to imagine James Harden scenario, but the rest under contract – perhaps even Chris Paul – could be moved in right deal.
Kevin Durant the Rockets trading for Chris Paul: “I’m not surprised by anything, but it was kind of like ‘Hmm. Damn, that’s a smart move. I wouldn’t think anybody would be that smart to pull that off.’ I think it was a great move. You put two guys together that are crafty with the ball, they’re going to get everybody shots and they going to get each other shots. It was a ballsy move to pull off by [Rockets GM Daryl] Morey. I don’t think anybody would have thought to do that.”
Michael Gallagher: Daryl Morey on ESPN: “We’re obviously chasing a juggernaut.” Added the CP3 trade with the Clips took only about 2 days to come together.
Lob City is over. Chris Paul is a Houston Rocket, and LA Clippers president and head coach Doc Rivers is ready to move on. “That part is over. And that bugs me,” Rivers said in an interview with ESPN. “But we’re not done trying to reach our goal. Sometimes you gotta do it a different way. Because the way we tried to do it didn’t work.”
As for Paul’s departure, Rivers said he resented the idea that personal issues with his son, Austin Rivers, or Griffin and Jordan played a key role in it. “Let’s not make this story about Blake and DJ and Austin. This story is about Chris leaving. He is the one that decided to leave,” Rivers said. “That doesn’t make him a villain. He had the right to do that. And I have no problem with that. That’s what free agency is.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Paul shared his decision with the Clippers on Tuesday during a 90-minute meeting. He had spoken extensively with his brother, C.J., to other family members, his closest friends and his agent, Leon Rose of CAA.
He had heard the vision from the Clippers’ front office, with president of basketball operations Doc Rivers and general manager Lawrence Frank sharing their view on the future. Owner Steve Ballmer took part as well. And then, in a move that gave the Clippers a chance to avoid losing him for nothing while also setting him up for a massive payday in 2018, he informed them of their options: Either trade him to Houston after he picked up the $24.2 million option for next season, or watch him opt out and sign with the Rockets in free agency. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
If Eaves is correct, the Clippers had a chance to acquire Carmelo Anthony for Rivers and Jamal Crawford. This would have been a coup for L.A., but Doc Rivers turned down the deal, enraging Paul. In this rare case, both GMs involved look like morons here, Phil Jackson for proposing it and Rivers for refusing it. But what really solidified Paul’s dissatisfaction with Doc was a proposed trade involving Carmelo Anthony last season. New York offered Carmelo and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, a deal to which Rivers ultimately said no. That event led Paul to feel that keeping his son on the roster was more important to Doc than improving the team. So, ultimately, Paul lost both trust and faith in Doc. As one league executive put it, “Chris despises Doc.”
Doc Rivers spoke to the media and commented on the trade. He spoke at length about why Paul left, his relationship with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers. He defended his players saying that Paul left to go play with Harden because he wanted to. This was most likely in response to reports Wednesday that Paul left due to issues with teammates and the coaching staff. “At the end of the day, when you lose a CP, it’s a big loss. I thank him for the years he was here. He left because he wanted to be with James Harden. Let’s not get that twisted. I wish him well. I have no problem with that. Do I disagree? Yeah, I think he would have been better served here. But that’s not for me. That’s CP to decide and he decided against that. We’ve heard all the stories about Blake and DJ and Austin. I can’t comment just on Austin because it’s just not right. We’ve heard he left because of all three today. He left because of DJ, he left because of Blake and now he left because of Austin. We know he didn’t leave because of that. There is a lot of speculation on why he left. The one thing I know is he didn’t leave because of any of those three guys. He left because he felt like he would have a better chance to win somewhere else.”
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
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.