NBA Commissioner Adam Silver warned teams against the practice of “tanking” and said that such conduct will result in “the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”
Silver expresses his concerns in a letter, obtained by USA Today Sports. Silver reminded all 30 NBA teams that tanking “has no place in our game” in a memo sent last week to explain the league’s six-figure fine of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“We have been careful to distinguish between efforts teams may make to rebuild their rosters, including through personnel changes over the course of several seasons, and circumstances in which players or coaches on the floor take steps to lose games,”
“The former can be a legitimate strategy to construct a successful team within the confines of league rules; the latter — which we have not found and hope never to see in the NBA — has no place in our game. If we ever received evidence that players or coaches were attempting to lose or otherwise taking steps to cause any game to result otherwise than on its competitive merits, that conduct would be met with the swiftest and harshest response possible from the league office.”
Silver said that teams that take steps to lose games have “no place in our game.” He also mentioned the word “integrity” several times during his memo as an important aspect of this story.
“The integrity of the competition on the playing court is the cornerstone of our league,” Silver said. “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 team with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Starting with the 2019 draft, the three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick, a move intended to lessen the incentive to lose at the end of the season.