Unauthorized modification rules have been around in the NBA for decades, but the league has some of its most controversial rules. They’re rarely applied, and when they are, it’s usually a minor punishment for something weird like a tweet or comment on Instagram. The latest to feel the NBA’s wrath are the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Raptors sent Kyle Lowry to the Heat in a sign-and-trade deal, and the Pelicans did the same for Lonzo Ball and the Bills. Both these deals are currently under investigation for fraud.
The NBA mixing rule explained.
The NBA says that an owner, CEO, coach, player, or other member of the organization cannot talk to a player who has signed with another franchise in hopes of convincing him to join their team. For example, Warriors CEO Bob Myers cannot legally contact Bradley Beal and ask him to join Golden State.
The principle of unauthorized conduct has always existed, but has rarely been strictly enforced. The league needs teams to rotate players to keep fans engaged and excited. Interruptions are no secret to the NBA, and punishing one team doesn’t deter other teams from stopping.
Penalties for unauthorized interference may include various penalties, regardless of what the NBA deems appropriate. Teams that violate the rules can have their draft picks overturned, their jobs changed, and the signing of free agents revoked. If a team official is found guilty, he could be fined up to $10 million, while an active player could be suspended from matches. Audits can be initiated at any time with random investigations of emails, texts and interactions on social media.
The downside to Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry is that the deals were announced within minutes of NBA free agency opening. Teams aren’t allowed to negotiate until free agency begins, but a deal signed so soon would attract the attention of the league office.
However, as mentioned earlier, mixing rules rarely apply. Teams are almost never fined millions, and the most recent fine was when the LA Lakers fined vice president Rob Pelinka $500,000 for talking to Paul George’s representatives while the All The star was under contract with the Indiana Pacers.
Of course, one of the harshest fines was the $75,000 fined Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey for tweeting just two words (“Join them”) to Stephen Curry when he congratulated his younger brother, Seth Curry. .
In another case, Draymond Green was fined $50,000.