Even without even a set date for the start of NBA free agency, there are reportedly "rumors circulating" that some players have already agreed to deals with teams for next season, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.
Smith added this year is going beyond the normal level of "tampering" as teams try to get a head start with the shortened offseason.
Outside of the draft scheduled for Nov. 18, there are no set dates for the rest of the offseason or the start of the 2020-21 season. Teams are reportedly looking for clarity from the league to help even the playing field against the organizations currently breaking rules.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the league is currently planning to begin next season before Christmas Day while utilizing a shortened 72-game schedule.
The NBA and NBPA have reportedly agreed to an Oct. 30 deadline for any modifications to the collective bargaining agreement, which could determine the salary cap for the upcoming year.
In a fair system, teams would wait for the final numbers and then negotiate deals with players once free agency opens.
In past years, the league held a six-day moratorium between the official start of free agency and when players can actually sign deals. Of course, the immediate reported agreements at the opening of free agency indicated some rule breaking.
"Obviously, if deals are being announced immediately after the discussion period begins, there had been prior discussions," commissioner Adam Silver said in July 2019, per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. "I think the consensus at both our committee meetings and the board meeting was that we need to revisit and reset those rules, that some of the rules we have in place may not make sense."
The changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have apparently only made things worse.
Anthony Davis headlines this year's class of free agents if he opts out of his current deal as expected, while Brandon Ingram, Fred VanVleet, Montrezl Harrell and others seek new long-term contracts.