Tampering is a part of the NBA. This is a common fact that has become more accepted over the years. General managers and agents around the league work behind the scenes to get deals done before they’re technically allowed to. This is why contracts are agreed upon the second free agency begins, and in several cases this offseason, even before free agency.
However, not every GM is thrilled with the wild west atmosphere that has been growing. Anonymous GMs spoke to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report and talked about tampering in the NBA, the unwritten rules of how this issue should be approached and how it’s being changed with some players being contacted directly.
“Before, it was just agents and front-office guys talking,” another former GM says. “But now, the GMs are talking to their players and making them a partner in the recruitment directly with the other player.”
However, while the approach on tampering in the NBA might be changing, don’t expect GMs to agree to stop anytime soon. They’re always looking for that competitive edge even if it might be seen as cheating.
“If you’re not cheating by the letter of the law,” says one former GM, “you’re not trying.”
Former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak used to be considered one of the top executives in the NBA. However, his refusal to break the rules of tampering might be part of why he was eventually fired. He lost that edge in free agency that other teams were gaining, because by the time he had made contact with players they were already in the process of talking to other teams and even working out contract details.
“What hurt Mitch was he played strictly by the rules,” one prominent agent says. “He would call you at midnight at the start of free agency and he’d be weeks or a month behind.”
It’ll be interesting to see if the NBA plans to step in with the wild amounts of tampering that has been taking place across the NBA. They already fined the Lakers for tampering with Paul George, before he was traded from the Pacers, but was that enough in their eyes? How much tampering is too much and where is the line? The NBA needs to establish this sooner rather than later, because if they don’t then what’s even the point of having a rule?
Courtesy: CBS Sports.com