The NBA has launched investigations into two of the sign-and-trade deals that were agreed upon early in free agency, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
Those two deals are the one that sent Kyle Lowry from the Raptors to the Heat – which was officially announced on Friday – and the one sending Lonzo Ball from the Pelicans to the Bulls, which hasn’t been officially completed yet. The NBA is set to investigate possible violations of its tampering policy.
According to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, the league is expected to look into any contact that may have occurred prior to the opening of the free agency negotiating period on Monday at 5:00pm CT. Both agreements were reported within minutes after the negotiating period began.
It’s an open secret that teams and agents begin free agent discussions before the negotiating period officially starts, but the NBA generally frowns on any deals that blatantly violate those rules. Sign-and-trades receive even more scrutiny since they’re more complex and typically require more time to complete than a typical free agent negotiation, Wojnarowski and Shelburne note.
Last year, for instance, an alleged sign-and-trade agreement involving the Bucks, Kings, and Bogdan Bogdanovic was reported several days before free agency officially began. The league ended up taking away Milwaukee’s 2022 second-round pick after investigating that situation, while Bogdanovic – who claimed he never agreed to terms with the Bucks – landed in Atlanta instead.
We’ll see what the investigation into the Lowry and Ball sign-and-trades turns up this year. It’s unlikely that the league would nix either deal, but fines and/or draft-pick penalties don’t seem out of the question, given the manner in which the deals were publicly reported.
One Monday report outlined the specifics of the Lowry sign-and-trade to the Heat nearly three hours before free agency began, though there was some uncertainty for much of the week about whether the deal would involve more pieces than just Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa. Lowry’s commitment to Miami was confirmed just minutes into free agency and his agency announced his destination shortly thereafter.
Ball’s deal with the Bulls was reported literally the minute the negotiating window opened, with the full terms of the trade agreement – including another sign-and-trade involving Garrett Temple – surfacing just seven minutes later.
As Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter), the NBA adopted new anti-tampering measures two years ago, giving the league the power to fine teams for up to $10MM, suspend executives, take away draft picks, or even void deals altogether if proof of tampering is found.
The Bucks’ second-round pick forfeiture is the most significant penalty we’ve seen since then. However, as Wojnarowski and Shelburne point out, the NBA’s decision in that case took into consideration that Bogdanovic didn’t end up signing with Milwaukee, so the league could come down a little harder on Miami and/or Chicago.
56 thoughts on “NBA Investigating Lowry, Ball Sign-And-Trades For Possible Tampering”
The league won’t do a thing.
Unless it’s Chris Paul to the Lakers
Chris Paul controlled that situation and if he really wanted to go to the Lakers he could have EASILY forced his way there. He obviously didn’t want to play with Kobe.
Paul controlled nothing. Stern decided to kill that deal, with him controlling the Hornets at the time then he allowed Paul to go to the Clippers for an worse package than the Lakers deal. Stick to baseball man.
Or unless they want Ball to end up with a better, more popular team thats lacking a PG…
However, with the Bulls still somehow one of the larger markets, in terms of revenue they bring in, I highly doubt the league will stand in the way of them getting better…
We already know the league gave them Derrick Rose in the lottery before, just like James to Cleveland, Ewing in New York, etc. etc. Lol haha
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, THIRD LARGEST CITY, that’s how they are the 3rd largest market. How can you not figure that out?
Yet Toronto is slightly larger, making it third in NBA markets. But who needs facts?
I guess you can argue that a second round pick is nothing, but the league did just penalize the Bucks less than a year ago as noted in the article above.
To be honest, I think the undrafted players were hurt by that more than the Bucks. It meant there was one fewer draft pick that happened. I know players can sign as UDFA, but teams are not invested in them as much. You sepnd a 2nd round pick on someone, you give them a little more opportunity to prove themselves. UDFAs might not get any more than summer league to prove themselves.
Plus, it must feel better for a player and his family to actually hear his name called at the draft.
Totally agree. Second round picks mean almost nothing to teams but likely everything to the players selected.
Actually, just like with the NFL Draft, every year there are some players, if they fall far enough, that will tell teams they don’t want to be drafted, and that they rather be able to pick their own destination as an UDFA…
HOWEVER, I’m sure those prospects are alot fewer and further between the guys that would just kill to get drafted, have the assurance of some type of contract, and ultimately have their names called.
I know you hear of it alot more in football, especially involving players with either medical redflags or prior questionable acts leading to character concerns. I remember specifically Lai’El(sp?) Collins told teams that basically once he found out he was falling down the boards, he’d rather just not be drafted at all, and he would refuse to sign if he was drafted. He wanted to be able to pick his team, and apparently it worked out well for him, because he’s earned another high AAV deal with some hefty assurances. There was also the famous refusals to sign with either the teams that selected them or potential teams by Bo Jackson, John Elway, and Eli Manning.
I remember also it was a big deal regarding Fred Van Vleet, he didn’t want to be drafted by teams that were basically just going to shuttle him instantly to the G-League, so he made it known he would refuse to sign that kind of deal. With that being the case, he went undrafted..
500k is worth it to get the guy you want
The league probably won’t do anything however I hope the nullify the Lowry sign & trade
Yeah, you would hope that. Every team does this, it’s nothing new. Dock the Heat a 2nd, and let’s move on. Nothing to see here.
Why would you dock MIA?
You gotta go for TOR & K-Low, they the ones that did wrong & need to pay for it.
Slow down buddy Ball’s going from the pelican to the bulls not bulls to pelicans
This whole thing has always been funny to me-
Players making lifelong tens of millions of dollars decisions in 5 minutes on an open market….. I mean ofc there’s talks beforehand going on
They seem to be after the sign and trades and RFA’s only to date .
All in all it’s just window dressing…NBA loves this drama and contracted/high volume business days compared to the lull baseball has in it’s free agency
The Heat and Raptors have had talks for Lowry for a couple of years now, so this seems incredibly ridiculous
So, are they just going to ignore the whole Westbrook to the Lakers trade?
Not the same because Westbrook and all the Lakers were under contract at the time. It wasn’t a sign and trade. The only player in that whole five team deal not under contract was Dinwiddie.
LeBron and Davis reqruited Westbrook in their home in LA, that’s tampering
There is no player on player tampering! I think they are about to change that but for now players are allowed to recruit other players !
Hey don’t knock LA they have BRON BRON the NBA ALWAYS LOOKS the OTHER WAY when it has to do with him and his team.
You’re spot on and it’s pure garbage how they handle Bron’s annual tampering. He’s the best recruiter the league has ever seen.
There should be absolutely no such thing as tampering in a sign and trade. The team most injured by tampering would be the player’s original team, but in a sign and trade the original team is directly involved in the discussions. I just don’t see how anyone else is hurt here.
He’s not really a free agent if he agrees to a deal before free agency begins.
I’m not agreeing or disagreeing but I do see why the rules are in place.
Per the CBA, the player may not be a FA, but he is not allowed to be traded if he’s about to become one. Even guys with team or player options can’t be traded unless the option is exercised. They are only under contract with their current team in a nominal sense to finish out the year or be reupped.
The regarding non-contact until the league year begins are not merely for the protection of the player’s existing team in its efforts to resign the player. It’s for all market participants.
Perhaps (see below) the “non-contact” concept should be gone completely. But your suggestion of keeping in effect and excluding the home team might be worse. In that world, any team would be able to control what other teams can (and which can not) have access to their FAs. Toronto approves Miami to speak with Lowry, but not the NOP. Why? Because Miami has to do a S&T which might net Toronto assets. Or Miami has other business with them. Or the agents involved do. Etc. If another (non-preferred) team tries to get a word in, the existing team cries tampering. Great system.
I wasn’t suggesting the original team be excluded from anything. I was saying that the original team is the only entity involved that could be hurt by tampering, but since they are involved in a sign and trade, then there is no injured party in that case.
But I do see your point regarding excluding other suitors. I guess that would be a problem.
I meant you’d exclude the home team from penalties for facilitating player-3rd team transactions, which (technically) violates the rules as much as 3rd team tampering. Home team has exclusive rights to reup their guy, and that it will happen prior to the market opening is a risk every pending market participant understands. That they will use their exclusive access to facilitate a S&T or other 3rd team signing isn’t, and it destroys the notion of market start date. I’m not sure the market start date is so important, but it can’t be that some teams have to recognize it and others (because the home team likes them) don’t. Stop the home team and its preferred 3rd team from doing it, or let the other 3rd teams play too. The former still have a lot of advantages, but at least not a complete league protected exclusive.
Exactly. It should be up to the original team to decide whether it’s tampering or not. If the Raptors are ok with it then why does anyone else care?
AK has the time Stone and foresaw all possible outcomes
The Bulls should be punished for being poorly ran.
I’m not a bulls fan…but they don’t seem to be poorly ran any longer.
I would have agreed with you before but the Bulls have a new front office. It is a new day in the Windy City
Hey Charlie Brown, I think Lucy wants you to come kick the football again. She swears she won’t pull it away again.
If the league can’t police the non-contact period (from the trade deadline until the end of the league year) – and it appears they can’t – then just eliminate the concept. You can’t stop teams and agents (who are only acting on behalf of players) from talking even during the season. Let them go at it. If player X is a FA, and his team has no objection to another particular team contacting their rising FAs, even during their season, let them permit it. A free for all, sure, but that’s kind of what we have now.
I’m kinda conflicted here. I thought the Bucks got screwed when they lost a pick and were fined(and they also lost Bogdonovich in the process) for doing what every team does.
So in that sense, I want to see some penalties. But I don’t ACTUALLY want to see these players penalized or the trades voided(which again, was the fear and why the Bucks trade didn’t go through).
Lowry wants to play in Miami…he should go there. And it’s also too late to really sign elsewhere. Same with Ball. Though at least in Ball’s case, he’ll likely get a big contract next year whereas Lowry may very well never get a big deal again.
If these teams don’t get a fine and lost of draft pick that’s BS as MKE then got screwed when other teams did the same thing.
You’re not wrong.
I just think it’s all kinda stupid, but sure. And then the Lowry trade and the Ball trade should be nullified..
Although, I do think if the Bucks and Kings had moved ahead, I don’t think the NBA would have stopped it. I just think Bogdan was worried he’d be left in the cold, so he went and signed with ATL instead.
There was a time this past year I was happy that trade didn’t go through, but if told me we could have Grayson Allen backing up Bogdan, I’d give up DD in a heartbeat then!
Either way, the Bucks/Kings were sloppy letting their “agreement,” leak so early.
The league WILL do a thing, they will take away a 2nd round pick, like they have been doing in the past.
The League should be investigating the Cavs for tampering. They have been negotiating with Nobody since well before the Monday start of free agency. Then they signed Nobody after free agency. Nobody and his agents should be fined as well as the team.
Obviously the Cavs should face a most severe penalty, and have the entire deal voided.
Right now Nobody is in Mark’s Cubans office gettin a healthy ear full
Im sure Mark can offer a private jet for Nobody to head straight over to the league offices after tho.
* Update* Nobody saw Schroeder w his thumb out hitch- hiking on the way to the airport but just rolled up the window hastily so not to be seen
LOL…in fairness…who do you think they should have signed?
I like what the Cavs are doing. I root for my fellow rust belt team as a Milwaukee fan, but looking at Cleveland, I’d rather seem them play with all their young talent, grab another lottery pick next year, THEN try and get out from that Love contract and after they add a guy like…Caleb Houstan…then go out and try and make a move in free agency. Otherwise…you’re just kinda stuck.
I do think it’d be cool if you could somehow package Sexton, Love and maybe a pick for Brown. That’d be a team that could really defend and I think Brown needs to get away from Tatum as they’re too similar. But I think he could be a 28/8/5 type guy while playing elite defense. Now THAT trio, Mobley, Allen and Brown, that could be a helluva defensive team.
I don’t know, I’m just bored and thinking out loud at this point. Anyway…good luck Cavs fans!
Unless there is proof, the NBA needs to just butt the f*(h out!
Obviously there was tampering. Woj was reporting about these before teams were even allowed to talk about them. Makes no sense to not find they tampered. But what will they do? They going to block these moves? I highly doubt it. Would literally screw up teams so bad! Maybe they find them or make them give up picks but I’d be surprised if they even did that.
Could block them meaning a Team like Dallas could swoop in and get Lowry.
Also when Teams season is done their guys that are to be a Free-Agent become one but can’t sign officially with sign a new team in writing but can be announced happening in the future intill after buzzer of last game of NBA Finals if sign with either of those teams same with Trades but can still happen all year round.
Achiuwa is a great pickup for Lowry. Considering he was never coming back to Toronto. He can start right away.
Much Adu about nothing. Bulls were in on ball at the trade deadline. Lowery the heat were kicking the tires on until the last minute. In fact it was regarded that ball was already seeking something in the 80 mil range. It’s simply a waste of time honestly
Let’s see what happends,as those 2 big trades, especially for Chicago, I not sure Kyle Lowery is that big upgrade over Dragic at this stage of his career except that he plays more minutes produce more points. I think Toranto got good young player.
Bulls look like a 6th or 7th seed and Heat look like a 5th or 6th seed so I mean investigate if you want but what does that change?
It changes the *appearance* that everyone doesn’t already know what is going on, and look the other way. Hard to look the other way, too, when every direction you look someone is pre-negotiating a free agent deal to announce in the first minutes of free agency.