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New anti-tampering proposal at center of owner’s meeting

The NBA power brokers descending on New York this week for the league’s Board of Governors meeting have reacted to the league’s beefed-up anti-tampering proposal with a mix of skepticism about its potential deterrent effect and concerns of privacy.

In conversations with numerous league officials, team owners, general managers and agents, there’s some uncertainty about the means the NBA might use to investigate alleged rules violations. Atop those concerns for team officials are what league sources insist was Commissioner Adam Silver toughest decision in bringing new rules to a vote: An annual, random auditing of five teams’ communications with rival front offices and player agents.

Some teams believe that the league is rushing the process of changing the rules.

In reaction to the blatant disregard of free agent tampering rules and an angry owner’s meeting in July, NBA owners are faced with a vote on Friday that could reshape – even if only in mechanics – how the business of player procurement is done.

The push to strengthen tampering rules — including a huge increase in the amounts of potential fines — was born out of a historic free agent period that witnessed several stars change teams in an acrimonious climate. The recruitment of Kawhi Leonard became fraught with charges that his uncle and advisor, Dennis Robertson, requested benefits outside the boundaries of the salary cap, league sources said.

Approval of the league’s anti-tampering proposal requires a “yes” vote from 23 of 30 teams. The league rarely brings such matters to a vote unless it is confident it has requisite support; the failure of the league’s initial proposal to tweak the lottery odds in 2014 was a rare public defeat.

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