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, some uncertainty was expressed about the means the NBA might use to investigate alleged rules violations. Atop those concerns for team officials is what league sources insist was commissioner Adam Silver's 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 owners 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 conducted.
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.
Whatever apprehensions exist in the rank and file of the league, the league's owners made it clear at a July board of governors meeting in Las Vegas and privately with Silver that they wanted change that would help level the playing field.