NBA unlikely to help the Toronto Raptors, but there’s a chance
This is all hypothetical because it’s unlikely the NBA wants to destroy a potential super team in one of its biggest markets and certain money-making rivalry if the two NBA tenants of the Staples Center in Los Angeles (Lakers and Clippers) engage in annual playoff matchups.
It is also a financially uncertain time for the NBA. With the 2019 NBA Finals involving the Raptors resulting in low ratings, lost revenue last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting this season with teams limiting the number of fans per home game (here’s a list from NBA.com on each team’s home attendance allowance). With low ratings during the Florida bubble part of last season, Adam Silver may not want to crush a big market franchise that could help any financial recovery.
Kawhi Leonard remains a huge star in the NBA, and his skills make the Los Angeles Clippers news in a media-rich environment, Los Angeles. Further, very recent history suggests the NBA will not act quickly, if at all. A sign and trade deal was announced with former Sacramento Kings RFA guard Bogdan Bogdanovic going to the Milwaukee Bucks on November 17th, 2020, some three days before free agency began.
There has been no word on what at least was an incompetent decision to announce and perhaps submit paperwork regarding a trade of a player who wasn’t under contract before you could sign him, much less trade him (Sacramento) to the potential malicious act of tampering by speaking to a player – a restricted free agent (Milwaukee).
It may also be worthy of questioning whether it was all a verbal agreement or a signed deal. Either way, what should be a relatively easy matter to resolve, the NBA has been silent on the matter.
It happened; it was announced, so even though Bogdanovic ended up signing in Atlanta, it appears to be a violation of the NBA’s tampering rules. In both the Bogdanovic case and Leonard situation, the NBA should enforce the rule if the facts warrant it, or the parity between franchises the rule is meant to promote is a farce, and the pretense should be eliminated.