Commissioner Adam Silver informed NBA teams last week the league is going to “monitor closely the play of all teams” to guard against blatant tanking down the homestretch of the season. “The integrity of the competition on the playing court is the cornerstone of our league,” he wrote in a memo obtained by USA Today. “It is our pact with the fans and with each other, the fundamental reason we exist as a preeminent sporting organization, the very product that we sell. With everything else changing around us, it is the one thing in our league that can never change. We must do everything in our power to protect the actual and perceived integrity of the game.”
The reminder came in the aftermath of a $600,000 fine assessed to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The memo acknowledged that at any given time there are teams going through personnel changes as they rebuild but said evidence of a team playing to lose will be “met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”
Tanking has been a topic of concern in the sport for a number of years, and Cuban triggered new attention this month when he revealed in a podcast that he told members of the Mavericks that “losing is our best option.” Silver’s memo said the NBA doesn’t believe the Mavericks are tanking but said “even a suggestion that such conduct could be occurring is obviously damaging to our game.” The Mavericks began Wednesday with the sixth-worst record in the NBA at 19-42 — just 1 1/2 games ahead of the last-place Phoenix Suns.
The team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. The rule will change before the 2019 draft so that the three worst teams will each have a 14 percent chance of landing the top pick, lessening the incentive to lose. –Field Level Media. (Reuters)