Warriors

Why NBA's new tampering proposal won't stop players from recruiting

Why NBA's new tampering proposal won't stop players from recruiting

The NBA is a players' league. 

For nearly a decade, the league at large has been trying to curtail that notion. In the latest effort, the NBA has proposed new rules, including a fine of $10 million for teams caught tampering with potential free agents, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN. 

The proposal comes two months after $1.4 billion in contract terms were agreed to 90 minutes into free agency, all but proving teams and players had agreements prior to the June 30 moratorium period. Such players included Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who were reported to have agreed to terms with the Brooklyn Nets hours before free agency period began. 

Nine years ago, LeBron James sat in the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn. and -- with the sports world in the palm of his hand -- announced his intention to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, marking the biggest shift to player empowerment since Curt Flood fought for MLB free agency in the 1970s. The move opened the door for players to determine their own futures on a level not seen, to the point that even the league's newest overtures won't help. 

The NBA's latest attempt to stifle player movement is wide-ranging. According to the memo obtained by ESPN, the proposal includes prohibiting players from influencing other players to request trades and random audits on teams to "assess compliance." Additionally, a requirement would be put in place that requires teams to report any instance of a player or representative asking for extra benefits within 24 hours. 

The NBA's newest proposal is in response largely to the recent open recruiting of free agents from former Lakers executive Magic Johnson. In 2017, Johnson alluded to his recruitment of upcoming free agent Paul George during an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Paul, then a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was considering the Lakers in free agency. Though rules forbid Magic to openly recruit George, he did so anyway. 

“We going to say hi because we know each other, you just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,’" Johnson said. "Even though I’ll be wink-winking like, ‘You know what that means, right?’”

Johnson was fined a league-record $500,000 and George signed with the Thunder. Though the league's proposal is aimed at curtailing further actions like Johnson's, it does little to help with player-on-player recruitment. Thirteen years ago -- during the 2006 World Championships -- Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, each a member of a different team, openly pondered the idea of playing together. Each signed short-term deals with their teams to become free agents in 2010, subsequently signing with the Heat in free agency. 

Will the new rules actually prohibit players from doing it again? Probably not. 

No rules are going to stop a player's will under the current landscape. Take Kevin Durant's free agency this summer. Before signing, Durant hadn't met with any executive nor toured any of the Brooklyn Nets facilities, but said he wanted to sign regardless. 

[RELATED: Durant still searching for what slipped from time with Warriors]

The biggest proposal would be for teams to self-report any agent asking for extra benefits. Not sure that could work, considering teams would run the risk of turning off top-flight talent by outing a player's inner circle. 

The NBA is now a player's league, thanks to LeBron James, and even with the current set of rules in place, it doesn't seem like that power struggle will be changing anytime soon. 

NBA rumors: Warriors using 'IQ tests' during Zoom draft interviews

NBA rumors: Warriors using 'IQ tests' during Zoom draft interviews

NBA teams use a variety of methods to evaluate prospects during the pre-draft process. Private workouts, one-on-one meetings and team-hosted scrimmages help front office personnel make their assessments on each player.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, NBA teams have been forced to resort to unique methods for appraising the 2020 draft class. The Warriors reportedly are among a handful of teams resorting to “IQ tests” as a method this offseason, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman reported earlier this week.

[RELATED: Warriors acquired nine players since 2010 who never played for team]

General manager Bob Myers likely will be in possession of a top-five pick whenever the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery takes place, so it’s understandable that he and his staff would want a full and thorough evaluation of whoever the Warriors select.

Golden State seems to be trying to maximize the limited amount of interaction each NBA team is allowed to have given the pandemic.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steve Kerr believes Warriors' 73-win NBA record never will be broken

Steve Kerr believes Warriors' 73-win NBA record never will be broken

Steve Kerr knows winning. Not only has he won eight NBA titles -- five as a player and three as a coach -- he also had his hand in the two winningest regular seasons of all time. 

Kerr averaged 8.4 points off the bench and played in all 82 regular season games in the 1995-96 season when the Chicago Bulls set a new record by winning 72 regular-season games. Fast forward 20 years and Kerr coached the Warriors to a 73-win regular season, to break his and the Bulls' record. 

So, does Kerr believe any team can top 73 wins?

"It was just a stunning season, and it's such an amazing accomplishment," Kerr said Friday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show. "I just don't think it's possible to break that record. Of course, I didn't think 72 would be broken."

There of course is one big difference, though.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Bulls went on to beat the Seattle Supersonics in six games to be crowned champs. And the Warriors blew a three-games-to-one lead in the Finals, losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after Draymond Green was suspended for Game 5.

"I know are guys were proud of it, but we didn't validate it with a title," Kerr said. "As a result, we just have a small banner in our practice facility commemorating it. That's kind of how it should be I think. We can look back at it and remember a great season, but we didn't quite get it done.

"So it definitely loses a bit of its luster."

[RELATED: Kerr details impact of 'Last Dance' behind-the-scenes access]

Bulls players wore shirts that read "Don't mean a thing without the ring" in the '96 playoffs, and then went out and got it done. Golden State overcame its own 3-1 deficit to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals before being on the wrong side of history the next series.

The banner will remain hanging just as 3-1 jokes and memes are here to stay. Both seasons were historic, but only one completed the job.