A number of deals appear to have been completed at breakneck speed. Kemba Walker committed to the Boston Celtics and Kyrie's Irving to the Nets almost immediately when free agency began, and the likelihood of the move is known for many days.
So close to the free agency started, Kevin Durant posted a video on Instagram announcing his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors and become a Net. The Boardroom, Durant's sports business channel.
The New York Times reported last month that representatives for Leonard, now the centerpiece of the Clippers, has made it known that he is interested in teaming up with Jimmy Butler. In addition, Leonard tried to recruit Durant days before he officially committed to the Nets.
On ESPN's website, testimonials from two players – the Milwaukee Bucks 'Khris Middleton and the Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris – were posted within minutes of each other at around 7 pm
Agents for several other players, including Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and Gerald Green, confirmed to The Times, ESPN, The Athletic and other outlets that their players have committed to teams within minutes of free agency opening.
Bobby Portis told The Athletic that the Knicks had come to a full five days before free agency started.
"The one strong conviction I've had is not strictly enforced," Silver said said in Las Vegas. "We know that's the case right now. Whether that's by virtue of practice, it's because the world has changed, it's because they have not been able to do that. "
There's some precedent for under -the-table deals that break league rules. It was discovered that Joe Smith, a No. 1 draft pick who played in the N.B.A. from 1995 to 2011, had signed short-term deals with the Minnesota Timberwolves that were less than his market value, with a secret promise that he would eventually get a more lucrative contract. The N.B.A. $ 0.00 million fine and five strikethrough Minnesota first-round picks.