Wow, if you’re looking for insider-trading type evidence, you might be disappointed! But let’s dive in anyway! The lead official for the finals has actually been linked to the Tim Donaghy scandal and was named the league’s worst referee! But the most convincing evidence (outside of the league’s decisions on Draymond) is actually on the court! The officials called everything against Golden State and only called the obvious things against Cleveland, making no controversial calls against the Cavs. It’s pretty clear that the Warriors would have won by a mile if not for the officiating, but the series was gifted to Cleveland in the end. And there’s obviously money at work, too.
For example, Draymond was suspended for his tap on LeBron, but not for the kick on Adams against OKC. What’s up with that? Well, the kick took place in the semifinals when Golden State was losing to OKC. Such a suspension would have likely ended the Warriors right away. But there’s always better TV rating and more money in a championship rematch, so the league ensured that the Warriors would be in the finals.
There were also three series this year when officials came under fire for favoring a team across the entire series: Cleveland vs. Detroit, Cleveland vs. Toronto, and Cleveland vs. Golden State. It’s highly suspicious that the three most controversial series all featured Cleveland and a Cleveland team being favored by officials.
Draymond’s suspension in the finals for practically nothing was also very suspicious. It likely (and did) extend the series, with more money in a Game 7 (not to mention TV ratings), so the league did what they could to ensure it would happen. And then, when it came to Game 7, they made sure there would be no repeat champion. The NBA wanted someone new, and Cleveland was the best solution to the Golden State problem.
While evidence for the finals being rigged can’t be found too clearly off the court, there was clear and utter failure on it. It’s almost universally accepted that officials have always given LeBron and his teams a lot of help, but this was taken to new heights. If it was rigged, we have to worry about the league (and other leagues, since one has proven susceptible to bribery) going forth. If it wasn’t rigged, we need to worry about the officiating moving forward, since it clearly favored the Cavaliers in this series. It’s a tough pill to swallow for Warriors fans, as they were definitely robbed in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Tim Donaghy’s Statement about the NBA conspiracy for the 2016 NBA Finals: