As it goes with leadership positions, you are guaranteed to be compared to your predecessor. Adam Silver is considered to be the best commissioner in all professional sports (not that he has a lot of competition – looking at you NFL), and compared to David Stern he is considered a lot softer on fines and punishment in general.
Being a commish in the player empowerment era requires more soft power, but there are lines that can’t be crossed. At a certain point, you rock the foundation on which the palace is built.
LeBron’s relationship with Klutch has always been suspect to say the least. The league investigated and found nothing that would raise flags in their eyes. While it may be so formally, we know that deals are done in many ways. Ever since the Joe Harris saga, where Minnesota had a deal in writing to sign him to three one-year minimum deals, but compensate him later in his career, no one has been so stupid to put an illegal deal on paper.
Yet, the Klutch connection isn’t only detrimental for locker rooms but bends the premise of the CBA itself. One of the way competitive balance is protected through the salary cap. How does Space Jam get involved in this?
The Lakers, in their wisdom, didn’t understand that the trade they agreed upon would affect the cap in such a way they wouldn’t be able to bring a third max contract in. One of the stumbling blocks is the 15% trade bonus AD has in his contract – this counts against the Lakers cap. Davis has the option of waiving the bonus, but why should he do that?
Well, let’s say he gets a similar amount for appearing in Space Jam 2. The remake/sequel produced by his new teammate, LeBron James. Would this be a cap violation? The Lakers are not producing the movie, LeBron is.
As Larry Coon explains it, the CBA is a list of everything you CAN do. Meaning, if it’s not explicitly stated in the CBA then you can’t do it. But it mostly covers the owner/team – player relationship.
By paying him more than market value, LeBron would be doing the Lakers a favor. Why would he do that? Well, how do you think an NBA championship or Finals appearance would influence the box office results of the movie LeBron is producing?
These are moments when the commissioner has to step in and make a judgment call. So far, we’ve seen Silver is more on a “don’t rock the boat” approach, and we don’t expect a detailed investigation into this.
We’re just hoping he’s keeping an eye on all the “unintended consequences” player empowerment is creating.