Sorry for being so late with this. A lot of life shit got in the way recently. I actually had something typed up a week ago but it was shit and I was embarrassed to post it because I knew I could do so much better. Tonight, I actually had the time to put into it and I think I have a pretty good debate to submit. I'm a social debater but I decided to take the NBA topic to help broaden my horizons.
Should Refs start giving more leeway... ?
I cannot be any more clear on this point: under no circumstances whatsoever should a ref in the NBA or in any sport be allowing any leeway.
Leeway - freedom to do something the way you want to do it; an allowable margin of freedom or variation 
The referee's job is to officiate the game. The rules are there for a reason. It should never be the referee's choice to decide how he wants to officiate a game. The referees should be doing nothing more than enforcing the rules as they are written. Any leeway of any kind is not a good thing for any sport.
This is an especially important point in the NBA. This is a league that has been striving for legitimacy for a long time now. The NBA being rigged is a long standing suspicion. Allowing more leeway is not going to solve that problem.
NBA Conspiracy Theories:
Let's start with the 1985 draft and the frozen envelope. Many people, to this day, believe that the Knicks were rigged to win the draft, so they could get Patrick Ewing. The New York Knickerbockers being a good team is what's best for business. More recent suspicions of the draft being rigged are the Cavs getting the first pick after LeBron left and the Hornets getting the first pick when they were being sold by the league.
In game 6 of the 2002 WCF, The Lakers were awarded 27 Free Throws in the 4th Quarter against the Kings.
Whether or not any of this is true is debatable but as often is the case in life, the perception is the reality.
There is a fascinating article here 
where you can read more. Here is a good quote from it:
It's not just the ambiguity of calling a block or charge; it's the understanding that so many actions could conceivably be fouls at different times ... in different games ... for different players ... to different refs. "We as players learn how to play the game according to the way different officials call it. That's the way it's always been."
In reality, the refs already give leeway on their calls. The “superstars” are already getting reffed differently than the every day player. Superstar treatment in the NBA is a plague. No player in any kind of legitimate league should ever go into a game wonder what the rules are going to be. If you really want legitimacy in your league, then the officiating needs to be standardized. Every ref crew should be reffing every game and every player with the exact same standards.
Just a futher note on “superstar calls”: if you're the so-called best players in the league, why exactly is it that you need helpful calls from the refs to win games? That just reeks of conspiracy.
If you want to take a step in the right direction of ending the conspiracy theories in the NBA, the first step is eliminating leeway of any kind from the refs.
...to allow more physicality in today's NBA
This is an entirely different problem.
Yes. Absolutely. Yes, there should absolutely be more physicality in the NBA. We're in the era of touch fouls and flopping as an offensive strategy. When I see guys like James Harden drive to the basket, not with the intention of making a basket, but with the intention of getting fouled so he can go to the free throw line... it flat out disgusts me. That is not how the game is supposed to be played. Foul calls are there to keep the game fair; not to be used as a strategy.
Watching the Bad Boy Pistons on the recent 30 for 30 
served as a reminder as to how much of a pussy league the NBA has become.
Yes, there should be more physicality in the league. Yet, you can't just go and tell the refs to allow more leeway. That leads into the conspiracy problem. Not all ref crews are going to be allowing the same amount of leeway as other crews. That's a problem that already exists. Allowing more leeway will only exacerbate an already existing problem.
If you want to solve the problem of the NBA turning into too much of a touch foul league, then you have to change the actual rules. If you allow refs to decide on their own what the leeway is, then the issue of legitimacy and game rigging will never go away. Stop the superstar calls. Make the ref be forced to call a foul because a player gave him no choice in the matter.
Legitimacy? Solved. Physicality? Solved. Game? Legit.