This summer saw several notable free agents sign big-time deals shortly after free agency officially opened.
The NBA is reportedly looking into the free agency process and player-to-player tampering after hearing concerns about how it operated this summer, when the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and others were on the market, according to ESPN.
The investigation was prompted by concerns raised at the board of governors meeting earlier this month in Las Vegas. With several deals being completed within hours of the official start of free agency on June 30, the belief is that tampering rules may have been violated prior to the official window opening. This may have taken place between teams and agents or player-to-player violations, which are harder for the league to regulate. In order for terms to be agreed upon so quickly, negotiations had to have begun before the official opening of free agency.
The scope of the investigation is still being determined and there is no timetable as to when it will be concluded, but ESPN reports that interviews will begin in the coming days. The investigation will likely focus on some of the earliest reported deals.
NBA superstar Kevin Durant confirmed his decision to leave Golden State for Brooklyn on Instagram shortly after the NBA’s official free agency period began at 6 p.m. ET. Kyrie Irving announced his decision to join Durant on the Nets soon thereafter. Kemba Walker's decision to leave the Hornets for the Celtics was basically a done deal before free agency even began.
The NBA reserves the right to punish teams for breaking league rules during free agency. Even if no punishments are inflicted, the information gathered could also lead to rule changes to the free-agency system in the future.
The New York Times reported that the NBA has begun investigating if improper incentives were offered to players to get around the salary cap. The issue was also brought up at the board of governors meeting in Las Vegas.