This is a follow up to my post from two days ago, What's to stop super-rich fans or corporations from buying star free agents for their favorite teams? (Go read that first if you haven't already, or else this won't make any sense.)
It sparked a Twitter conversation yesterday that answers the question... sort of:
@Mike_Dyer13 agree, just pointing out the lines of fishy are blurred. Say KD gets an $80 mil nike deal in NYC, but a $50 mil one in OKC...— Mark Van Deusen (@LucidSportsFan) June 28, 2016
In theory, something like that could happen:
@JonesOnTheNBA Can shoe companies pay NBA players to move location or just incentivize them by saying it'd lead to more sales?— Matt Dot Rich (@MattDotRich) June 28, 2016
Can incentivize through deal structure that says more money if you play in certain cities. https://t.co/fIVPP2eoFL— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) June 28, 2016
But here's the real deciding factor:
@LucidSportsFan I think it's simply a situation where if Adam Silver feels like something is fishy, he has the right to stomp it out— Michael Dyer (@Mike_Dyer13) June 28, 2016
That's definitely true--the NBA is not the American legal system, there's no law that has to be proven one way or the other. If the commissioner thinks something untoward is going on, he'll just step in and void the deal, or impose other penalties on the team guilty of trying to circumvent the salary cap (there actually is a rule about this).
But the question is, where does the league (Silver) draw the line? Obviously Legal Sea Foods offering Kevin Durant unlimited crab legs is not an issue. I doubt an overly-generous million-dollar endorsement would be either. But $100 mil, on the other hand, clearly would raise red flags:
@LucidSportsFan There's definitely a line there, one that the NBA decides, & much closer to the crab legs haha. But I totally see your point— Michael Dyer (@Mike_Dyer13) June 28, 2016
It's a very blurry line, and one that will only become harder and harder to define in the years ahead.