The NBA free agency period’s biggest potential problem came to fruition last week when DeAndre Jordan reneged on a commitment to the Dallas Mavericks and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Once July 1 arrives, free agents are officially permitted to seek a contract and discuss terms. However, even if a verbal agreement is reached, no player can sign a new deal until the moratorium period—typically a little over a week—ends.
Yet the Jordan fiasco on July 8 wasn’t enough to shorten or eliminate the moratorium.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said discussions to tweak the current system were not fruitful:
“Nobody had a great idea, frankly, in terms of how to change it. I think there was some discussion about whether the moratorium potentially should be a bit shorter. But as I’ve said the other day, it’s an imperfect system. And we still think we’re striking the right balance between teams having the opportunity to talk to players when they become free agents and creating certainty at some point when contracts are entered into.”
It’s an unfortunate the NBA couldn’t find an adjustment, though admittedly, Jordan’s type of situation rarely occurs. Nearly every player honors his verbal pledge.
That’s not a shot at Jordan, who was perfectly within his rights to back out before any contract was official. It’s simply disappointing.
The league should continue to engage in conversations about the moratorium. Otherwise, next summer, the NBA might face similar problems when free agents must wait until July 12.
Photo: USA Today Sports