The NBA will be voting on additional rules and fines to address tampering around the league. The additional guidelines would benefit the Toronto Raptors.
The NBA will never get rid of tampering. No matter what rules they put in place, no matter how harsh of punishments they design, teams will always bend and even break the rules to gain an advantage. However, that doesn’t mean the league can’t limit tampering to their best capabilities. The more they are able to limit tampering, the bigger the advantage for the Toronto Raptors.
Tampering has increased as teams are signaling their intentions more blatantly than ever before. The Clippers made their pursuit of Kawhi Leonard more obvious than Peppy Le Pew, as they sent a team official to nearly every Toronto Raptors game, only to tell Kawhi “we’re here for you.”
While the new rules wouldn’t have stopped the Clippers from engaging in their very public recruitment, they are a step in the anti-tampering direction.
According to a report by ESPN.com, the league will consider a couple of different proposals:
A requirement that a team report, within 24 hours, any instance of an agent or player representative asking for a benefit that is not allowed under the salary cap or collective bargaining agreement (“unauthorized benefits”)
A requirement that teams preserve communications with players and their agents for one year
New channels for teams and team employees to anonymously report rules violations or tampering
Prohibiting players from inducing players under contract to request trades
A proposal to conduct investigatory audits of five randomly selected teams each year to assess compliance with system rules
The league would also increase the potential punishment for any violation, increasing the maximum fine to a heft $10 million.
Stricter rules should be seen as nothing but a positive for the Toronto Raptors. While we’re not sure of the degree, the new rules will make it more difficult to poach players currently under contract.
And yes, free agency is a two-way street. If it’s more difficult it is for other teams to recruit free agents, it will be more difficult for the Raptors as well. Still, that’s a trade-off the franchise should be more than happy to make.
It’s no secret that Toronto hasn’t been the largest free agent destination over the past 25-or-so years. The franchise’s biggest notable signings were Hedo Turkoglu and DeMarre Carroll, neither of which could be considered anything other than a massive failure.
The Raptors will have much more success relying on one of the smartest decision-makers in basketball to acquire players in the draft and via trade, rather than enticing big names on the open market.
Rules that make recruiting harder and force general managers to acquire players through other means are beneficial to the Raptors. The more trades and more reliant teams are on the draft, the more chances for Masai Ujiri to outsmart the rest of the league.
The league will be voting on the newly proposed rules during the board of governors meeting, this Friday, September 20th. Regardless of the specifics, Toronto Raptors fans should be hoping for a yes.
Perhaps these new rules won’t do much, and there is nothing the league can do to put the tampering genie back in the bottle. However, whatever the NBA can do to reduce tampering is good for the Toronto Raptors. This rule is at least a step in the right direction.