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Wild NBA Free Agency Could Trigger a Re-Tooled Approach

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From Kawhi Leonard to Kevin Durant, the NBA’s massive shift this summer could change how organizations negotiate with free agents.

2019 NBA Awards - Arrivals Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage

The NBA landscape underwent a massive transformation in the early weeks of free agency. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George landed with the Clippers, Anthony Davis finally joined the Lakers, and Kevin Durant left the Warriors to sign with the Nets. Those league-altering shifts garnered mixed feelings from organizations from around the league. While in Las Vegas in July, it is rumored that team officials investigated several options built to fix what they view as a broken system.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst revealed a few items that the NBA is considering to stem the tide of chaos.

One idea revolved around the idea of removing the mystery of negotiations that take place after the conclusion fo the NBA Finals.

The possibility of allowing teams to talk to free agents and their representatives immediately after the end of the NBA Finals or a few days later, even if there is still some moratorium on striking official deals until some set time after the draft.

A more aggressive reform would push to have free agency unfold prior the NBA Draft.

A more extreme version of this same general change: conduct free agency, signings and all, before the NBA draft. But this change, while practical, may not be in the immediate offing.

The Houston Rockets formally proposed this change last year. When the league polled the 30 teams on Houston’s proposal this month, only 10 supported it, though several responded that they did not care either way, sources familiar with the poll results say.

Organizations also discussed how they can level the playing field when competing against player-driven recruitment.

If players can continue to recruit each other freely and at all times, the general sense was that teams should have more time and methods of communicating with impending free agents.

Even if a drastic change fails to occur, it appeared that most organizations agree that the free agent moratorium needs to be shortened. In order for that shift to take place, the NBA must work to release their salary cap projection for the following year earlier in the offseason process.

Failing more extreme change, there is support among lots of teams for reducing the current moratorium on official signings -- which extends from June 30 through July 6. The primary obstacle to any shortening of the moratorium has been the league’s need to account for all the income from the previous fiscal year -- including the full NBA Finals -- and accurately set the salary cap for the next season.

You can read the full story from Lowe and Windhorst at ESPN.