Will Lonzo Ball to Bulls and Kyle Lowry to Heat Be Scrapped? Here’s What NBA Tampering Rules Say

Published 08/08/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
Dec 23, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


The NBA off-season 2021 has been a crazy ride so far. It has led to many franchises flexing their muscles and getting bulkier with starry selections. Two of those organizations with off-court success were the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. However, a recent development in their direction has the potential to puncture all the gains.

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The Bulls’ trade agreement came out instantly as the free-agency window opened. They sent out Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, a future Round 2 pick to the Pelicans, and received Lonzo Ball in return. Similarly, the Heat acquired Kyle Lowry with a sign-and-trade that let out Goran Dragic & Precious Achiuwa. So what’s wrong with any of that?

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Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat under NBA investigation

As per a report, the league is running a tampering investigation on the dealings that involved Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry. The eyebrow-raising point for the case-makers is the timing of the talks that led to these sign-and-trades. The free-agent window officially opened at 6 PM ET on Monday.

So the investigators will not put those two franchises under the scanner to find out if they made their contacts prior to the permitted timings. Notably, Adam Silver led NBA had earlier introduced in 2019-20 an increment in the penalties for such scenarios. So a team found guilty might have to pay a fine of $10 million, lose draft pick(s), or witness a void of contracts.

Hence, chances are strong that these mega deals can see scrapping and the two franchises invite a punishment.

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NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 25: Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver speaks onstage for Building Brands and Delighting Fans: Nurturing Talent and Creating Compelling Content in the Digital Age during day 3 of Fast Company Innovation Festival at 92nd Street Y on October 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

When was the last time a team handled one such penalty?

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During the last season, Milwaukee Bucks reportedly faced a similar punishment after pleading guilty in a case involving Bogdan Bogdanovic. Notably, they contacted the player/agent before the permitted window, and these prior discussions led to a huge fine. 

So as a result, the Bucks lost their Round 2 pick and also saw shooting guard Bogdan going to Atlanta. That the Leader of Horde averaged a career-high 16.4 ppg with the Hawks further proved how such losses can prove detrimental. He even started all the games while playing well against the Bucks in the playoffs in 2021.

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So now, the $85 million deal of Lonzo Ball (Bulls) and the contract involving Kyle Lowry (Heat) are facing a similar fate. What do you think would happen next? Help us know your predictions in the comments box below.

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Sourabh Singh

1626 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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