SALT LAKE CITY — After th/e Utah Jazz traded for Mike Conley and agreed to deals in free agency with Bojan Bogdanovic, Ed Davis, Jeff Green and Emmanuel Mudiay, pundits around the country have pegged the Jazz as a team that could be a real contender in the NBA’s Western Conference next season.
Some of that was tempered late on July 5 when it was reported that the LA Clippers agreed to sign Kawhi Leonard and trade for Paul George, bringing two of the league’s best players to the same team (Leonard’s contract and the trade were made official on Wednesday).
The manner in which George ended up with the Clippers was seen as disheartening to many, as he reportedly requested in strong terms to be traded there by the Oklahoma City Thunder once Leonard expressed his desire to go there.
It was the latest example of a player preferring to be in a big market over a small one, a battle the Jazz have had to deal with for virtually their entire existence (which is a big reason why management has been so widely praised for its work this offseason).
At a press conference during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas earlier this week following the yearly Board of Governors meeting, commissioner Adam Silver addressed questions of players forcing their way to big markets like Los Angeles, and how that affects parity around the league.
“At the end of the day, we want to be a league where strong management is rewarded,” Silver said.
In that same vein, Silver somewhat shot down the idea that players have too much power in being able to force their way out of where they play even if they are not free agents.
“I don’t necessarily see it as player versus owner,” he said. “When we step back, what’s best for the fan? I think what’s best for the fan is a 30-team league which everyone has the opportunity to compete with a fair set of rules.”1 comment on this story
Speaking of rules, Silver also addressed the topic of players and teams agreeing to new contracts before they’re technically allowed to at the opening of free agency. He said the consensus among the Board of Governors is that rules surrounding when players and teams can talk need to be “revisited” and “reset.”
“We’ve got work to do,” he said.
Silver also said the league will institute coach challenges on referee calls for the upcoming season after it has been tested for a few years in the NBA G League and in summer leagues the last two years.
It will be instituted as a one-year experiment, with Silver saying calls that can be challenged will be “fairly limited” to maintain a good game flow while striving to get calls correct.
Watch the entire press conference below.