NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Defends Mavericks’ Tanking Fine Amid 2024 NBA Finals

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Defends Mavericks' Tanking Fine Amid 2024 NBA Finals
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In a recent press conference, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the league’s ongoing efforts to combat tanking fine, citing last season’s high-profile case involving the Dallas Mavericks. Silver reiterated the fairness of the $750,000 fine imposed on the Mavericks, who strategically rested key players to improve their draft lottery position. Despite the punishment, the Mavericks’ controversial decision seems to have yielded significant benefits, as they now find themselves in the 2024 NBA Finals.

Last season, the Mavericks acquired star guard Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline, hoping to make a late push for the playoffs. However, their efforts fell short, and with playoff contention slipping away, the team made a controversial decision. On April 7, 2023, against the Chicago Bulls, Dallas rested several key players, including Irving, to enhance their chances of losing and thereby improving their draft lottery odds.

The Mavericks’ first-round draft pick was top-10 protected, meaning it would only be retained if it landed inside the top 10. If the pick fell to 11th or lower, it would be conveyed to the New York Knicks. Dallas, with a shorthanded roster, narrowly lost to Chicago 115-112, a result that tied them for the 10th-best lottery odds. The NBA later investigated and fined the Mavericks $750,000 for “violating the league’s player resting policy” and “demonstrating a desire to lose the game.”

Dallas ultimately retained its draft pick, landing the 10th overall selection, which they later traded down to 12th in a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the 12th pick, the Mavericks selected center Dereck Lively II, who has been instrumental in their resurgence. This season, Dallas finished fifth in the Western Conference with a 50-32 record and has made an unexpected run to the NBA Finals.


Ahead of Game 1 of the Finals against the Boston Celtics, Silver was asked about the league’s decision to penalize the Mavericks. He defended the fine, emphasizing that it was a necessary response to maintain the integrity of the competition.


“In terms of what Dallas did last year, we sanctioned them. We did what we thought was appropriate at the time,” Silver said. He acknowledged the Mavericks’ impressive turnaround but noted that their success should not be solely attributed to tanking fine for the draft pick that secured Lively. “I would only say that the success they saw this season, that they’re now seeing in the playoffs and here they are at the finals, I don’t attribute it to one draft pick, as important as that draft pick has been to their team,” Silver added.

Despite the contentious circumstances surrounding his acquisition, Dereck Lively II has become a pivotal player for the Mavericks. Over 55 regular-season games, Lively averaged 8.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game, while shooting an impressive 74.7% from the field. His performances earned him a spot on the All-Rookie second team, validating the Mavericks’ faith in his potential.


Lively’s impact has extended into the postseason, where he has averaged 8.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game on 67.1% shooting over 17 appearances. The 20-year-old has provided Dallas with a consistent lob threat, solid rebounding, and reliable rim protection. His contributions have been a key factor in the Mavericks’ surprising success, underscoring the importance of their draft strategy.

The Mavericks’ situation presents a complex legacy for the NBA’s anti-tanking measures. On one hand, the fine levied against Dallas serves as a reminder of the league’s commitment to maintaining competitive integrity. On the other hand, the tangible benefits reaped by the Mavericks highlight the difficult balance between punishing tanking fine and recognizing strategic decisions that can ultimately benefit a franchise.

As the NBA continues to refine its approach to discouraging tanking, the Mavericks’ case will likely serve as a pivotal reference point. Adam Silver’s comments suggest a nuanced understanding of the issue, recognizing both the need for enforcement and the realities of team strategy.

With the Mavericks now competing in the NBA Finals, the conversation around tanking and its implications is more relevant than ever. The outcome of this series may further shape the narrative and influence future league policies on the matter.

Alex Turner
What's up, hoops enthusiasts! I'm Alex Turner, a basketball junkie with a playbook for a heart. As a former player and coach, I've taken my love for the game and turned it into a journey of analysis and insight. My articles aim to break down the game's strategies, dissect crucial plays, and offer a glimpse into the tactical intricacies that make basketball an art. From the NBA to college hoops, I'm your go-to guy for decoding the language of the court. Let's dive deep into the world of basketball together!

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