The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat are under NBA investigation for potential tampering in the sign-and-trade deals for Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, respectively, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. If found guilty of tampering, both franchises face serious financial penalties and could lose draft capital or have contracts voided.
The Bulls reportedly agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal with Ball as soon as free agency “officially” began, opening the door for curiosity rather easily. The Heat had to wait a bit to ink Lowry in a sign-and-trade agreement, but that three-year, $90 million deal is also under investigation. The Heat picked up Goran Dragic’s team option, indicating they could’ve had an idea Lowry would be open to doing a sign-and-trade deal and needed Dragic’s salary to aid the process.
What’s interesting here is the NBA is not investigating the Bulls for the sign-and-trade deal involving DeMar DeRozan. That deal took place well into the “official” free agency negotiation process, meaning it likely didn’t involve prior negotiations.
The Bulls had been linked to Ball at the trade deadline, but opted not to make a move for the point guard then. Lowry was on his way out in Toronto, but the Heat were among a list of teams he was likely to choose. The NBA may have a strong case with Chicago, but Miami’s dealings with Lowry might be hard to prove.
The Milwaukee Bucks were fined under tampering bylaws for discussing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was also fined for tampering after saying Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker should leave Phoenix while doing an appearance on TNT. The league is getting stricter with tampering and there could be some serious consequences in the cases of Ball and Lowry if the teams are found guilty.
The Bulls and Heat have seen their NBA title futures go up as a result of free agency, with Miami at +2800 and Chicago at +6000 according to DraftKings Sportsbook.