The WNBA is investigating the Las Vegas Aces for making under-the-table payment offers to current players and free agents through fake sponsorships. Per The Next, players and free agents would negotiate a contract, and after the contract was signed, players’ agents would allegedly receive a call from a company offering a negotiable amount of money that required no work from the athlete in return. The agents were reportedly told about this call by the Aces’ representatives during contract negotiations.
This could be a possible violation of the salary cap and the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement. The Aces are owned by Raiders owner Mark Davis and are the reigning champions of the league. They recently signed on the Chicago Sky’s Candace Parker and the Washington Mystics’ Alysha Clark for what appeared to be a decrease in salary.
Per the CBA, it is against the rules to “enter into an agreement or understanding with any sponsor or business partner or third party under which such sponsor, business partner or third party pays or agrees to pay compensation for basketball services (even if such compensation is ostensibly designated as being for non-basketball services).”
Potential punishments could include fines to the voiding of contracts. The league will finish the investigation and then determine what it believes to be an appropriate punishment. As The Next noted, the league has been reticent about making team punishments known in the past, so it could be some time before we learn of the fallout.