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. 

Nick Young predicts Warriors miss playoffs, Lakers win 2020 NBA title

Nick Young predicts Warriors miss playoffs, Lakers win 2020 NBA title

Nick Young has never been one to blend in with the crowd, and he's not about to change anytime soon.

Even though his NBA playing days are behind him, Young still is very much keeping tabs on the league, and -- this might shock you -- he has some noteworthy opinions. In speaking to Adam Caparell of Complex, Young offered some thoughts on the upcoming NBA season, and as you'd expect, he didn't shy away from hot takes.

One of those takes, in particular, concerned the Warriors.

When asked if he had one crazy prediction for the upcoming NBA season, Young provided a double dose.

"I will say either New Orleans making the eighth seed or Denver not making the playoffs," Young initially replied. "I don't think the Warriors going to make it this year. If they do, it's the eighth seed."

Predictions for the Warriors are all over the place, and Swaggy P is no different. ESPN projects Golden State as the third-best NBA team over the next three seasons, but some of the company's personalities have a considerably lower opinion of the Dubs.

[RELATED: Why center-by-committee is Warriors' best course of action]

Young won his one and only NBA championship as a member of the Warriors, but clearly, that's not biasing his predictions. As for who he thinks the 2019-20 NBA champion will be, however, he went with one of the other five teams he played for in his 12-year career.

"Lakers."

I suppose they can't all be hot takes.

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With Kevon Looney on mend, Warriors' best plan is center-by-committee

With Kevon Looney on mend, Warriors' best plan is center-by-committee

SAN FRANCISCO -- With two practices remaining before opening night on Thursday, the Warriors have yet to identify their regular starting center.

That likely will be the case for at least a few weeks, according to coach Steve Kerr.

Though Marquese Chriss started the final four preseason games and appeared to have the edge, the return of Kevon Looney -- after being sidelined by a hamstring strain for nearly three weeks -- on Sunday provides some flexibility.

“Loon scrimmaged,” Kerr said after practice. “I just talked to him and he said he felt good. He’ll continue to get more work in as the week goes on. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go on Thursday night.”

Asked if Looney, the only big man on the roster with experience as a Warrior, might be the starter Thursday against the Clippers, Kerr did not dismiss the possibility.

“He probably would be,” he said. “But I’d probably do it based on matchups from game to game.”

As the Warriors prepared for training camp, it was generally assumed that the majority of the minutes at center would go to Willie Cauley-Stein and Looney. Cauley-Stein, acquired as a free agent after four seasons with the Kings, was the presumed starter, with Looney maintaining his role as an early sub.

That was before Cauley-Stein sustained a mid-foot sprain a few days before camp.

That was before Looney strained a hamstring on the first day of camp.

And before Marquese Chriss -- signed to a non-guaranteed contract one day before camp -- started four of five preseason games, opening eyes and minds and earning a roster spot.

Chriss, 22, might have the most comprehensive set of skills. Cauley-Stein, 26, offers the greatest length (7-foot-3 wingspan) and most experience as an NBA starter. Looney, 23, is most familiar with the team’s playbook and culture.

[RELATED: Warriors GM Myers happy with what Chriss brings to team]

Those three represent most of the center committee, with leftovers going to Omari Spellman.

“We lack size, obviously with Willie and Loon out,” Kerr said. “So, if we get Loon back, we’d probably look at the other team’s lineups and see what makes the most sense.”

The Warriors have been here before. Damian Jones and Looney rotated starting assignments at center last season before DeMarcus Cousins was cleared to play. Both Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee were utilized as starters in each of the two previous seasons.

A rotation of three, however, provides tremendous flexibility -- a platoon system of sorts -- while also presenting potential challenges to court chemistry.

Above all, it maintains the spirit of competition while also keeping everyone fresh.

Until someone emerges as the clear starter -- Cauley-Stein has progressed to non-contact drills, but he’s not expected to return until next month -- a center-by-committee system seems the smart way to go.

Indeed, for now, it may be the only way.