The start of NBA Free Agency signifies the start of the new fiscal year within the NBA, and when the season starts the league, it has its annual Board of Governors meeting. At this year’s BOG meeting, free agency, dead periods, moratoriums, and tampering were all hot topics. 2019 NBA Free Agency was absolutely banana’s.
Overall, 62 different players switched teams over the course of free agency. Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker all highlighted the bunch who will be calling new cities home once the NBA training camp starts in late September.
It was revealed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that Free Agency would start a bit earlier than usual this year. Rather than beginning at 12 a.m. on July 1 as was the standard in previous years, the commissioner moved the start of free agency up to 6 p.m. EST on June 30. Silver sat down with ESPN’s Tim Bontemps to comment on some transgressions from the meeting.
“My sense in the room today was, especially when it comes to free agency and the rules around it, that we’ve got work to do,” he said.
If you paid any attention to the league, you’re probably well aware of the “work” that Commissioner Silver is referring to. It is painfully obvious teams and players were finding ways to negotiate and even agree to deals prior to the open of the NBA Moratorium.
When 6:30 p.m. rolled around on June 30 — just 30 minutes into free agency — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker had all made verbal commits to sign with new teams. It would be virtually impossible for them to reach agreements that quickly.
Silver continued by saying “I think [teams] are put in difficult situations because when they’re sitting across from a player and whether it’s conversations that are happening earlier than they should or frankly things are being discussed that don’t fall squarely within the collective bargaining agreement, it puts teams in a very difficult position because they are reading or hearing that other teams are doing other things to compete, and at the end of the day, that’s what this league is about: competing for championships.”
Silver seems to accept that teams tampered during free agency in years past; however, this year was taken to an extreme, and Kawhi Leonard was the only player to receive a contract totaling over $100 million that was not agreed on within the first 24 hours of free agency.
Tampering is proving to be an area the NBA is struggling to get a total grasp on. You will certainly never be able to eliminate player to player contact, which appears to be one of the most efficient forms of modern day tampering, but Silver did repeatedly say that the NBA needed to have rules that were enforceable.
Another topic of discussion at the Board meeting was the balance of power between players and teams. Of all the big name free agents that switched teams, almost all went to one of Los Angeles, New York City, or Miami.
Silver maintains he isn’t “overtly worried” about this, but he mentions that it’s imperative the league maintains a level playing field for all of its 30 teams.
Silver also briefly addressed the increasing trend of players publicly demanding trades from their current teams.
“I will say, without getting into any specific circumstances, trade demands are disheartening,” he said. “They’re disheartening to the team. They’re disheartening to the community and don’t serve the player well. The players care about their reputations just as much. And so that’s an issue that needs to be addressed.”
Silver also added that the League and its broadcasting partners, ESPN, and Turner Sports, may need to revisit their TV deal to ensure they’re maximizing their viewership.