According to a piece written by Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the NBA is reevaluating the way free agency is handled. The league is launching an investigation into this summer’s dealings, during which an inordinate number of deals seemed to be agreed upon before the NBA moratorium officially opened on June 30th.
The investigation has been brought about because many owners were concerned by the number of deals that were reported just as free agency began. Teams were not allowed to talk to players or their representatives until 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on June 30, but deals for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes, JJ Redick, and others were reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at or before that time.
The Charlotte Hornets lost one of their own players to one of those deals. The news of Kemba Walker’s agreement with the Boston Celtics was reported at 6:00 on the dot. It’s likely that his deal will be one of many that the league takes a close look at. Hornets owner Michael Jordan was one of the vocal owners in the meeting. As head of the labor committee, he discussed the need to revisit free agency rules in the next collective bargaining agreement.
Whatever the league decides to do, it would benefit the Hornets. Word on the street is that Hornets general manager is practically the only executive to play by the rules and wait for the moratorium to start before dealing with free agents. New rules with stricter enforcement would level the playing field and possibly keep the Hornets from being beat to free agents by their less rule-abiding rivals. It may have been the difference between Walker staying and going, but there’s no way to know that for sure.
I personally am interested to see how the NBA handles it. June 30th was a lot of fun to experience as an NBA fan. But at the same time, it was odd seeing such a massive influx of new deals being reported within minutes of the opening of discussions. Like there’s no way the Indiana Pacers and Malcolm Brogdan can agree on a 4-year, $85 million deal and figure out sign-and-trade compensation with the Milwaukee Bucks within one minute.
Same thing with the Brooklyn Nets and their deals for Irving, Durant, and Jordan. I mean, Durant was even going to announce his new team at 6:00 on the dot on Instagram, but Woj spoiled it for him at like 5:40. The whole thing was a giant cluster-f. It was fun, but I do think the league needs to take control before free agency gets too out of hand.