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NBA commissioner Adam Silver says league has work to do around enforcing free agency rules

Thursday 11 July 2019 15:52, UK

Adam Silver

Most of the big names in NBA free agency agreed to new deals within hours of the deadline passing last week. In his annual summer league news conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver said that doesn't sit well with him.

Free agency and trade tracker

Free agency and trade tracker

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"My sense in the room today was, especially when it comes to free agency and the rules around it, that we've got work to do," said Silver, who was speaking after the annual board of governors meetings wrapped up.

"It's still the same principles of fair balance of power and a sense that it's a level playing field. I think that's what teams want to know.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in regular season action for Boston and Golden State
Image: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in regular season action for Boston and Golden State

"I think they're put in difficult situations because when they're sitting across from a player and whether it's conversations that are happening earlier than they should or frankly things are being discussed that don't fall squarely within the collective bargaining agreement, it puts teams in a very difficult position because they are reading or hearing that other teams are doing other things to compete, and at the end of the day, that's what this league is about: competing for championships."

Kawhi Leonard is guarded by Paul George
Image: Kawhi Leonard is guarded by Paul George

Aside from Kawhi Leonard, all of the most discussed names - including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker - agreed to deals soon after free agency opened, leading to the suggestion that teams had ignored rules in place to level the playing field.

Kemba Walker attacks the basket against Brooklyn
Image: Kemba Walker attacks the basket against Brooklyn

"My job is to enforce a fair set of rules for all our teams and a set of rules that are clear and make sense for everyone," said Silver. "I think right now we're not quite there."

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Silver also expressed frustration with players publicly demanding trades. "It falls in the same category of issues of the so-called rule of law within a sports league. You have a contract and it needs to be meaningful on both sides.

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"There's an expectation if you have a contract and it's guaranteed that the team is going to meet the terms of the contract, and the expectation on the other side is the player is going to meet the terms of the contract," said Silver.

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"Trade demands are disheartening. They're disheartening to the team. They're disheartening to the community and don't serve the player well. The players care about their reputations just as much. So that's an issue that needs to be addressed."

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