NBA to open tampering investigation into Lonzo Ball trade


The NBA is opening an investigation into possible tampering violations regarding the Lonzo Ball-centered sign-and-trade agreement between the Chicago Bulls and Pelicans, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday.

The sign-and-trade between the Heat and Raptors that sent Kyle Lowry to Miami is also being investigated, per the report.

The Bulls' trade agreement, which was first reported minutes after the free-agent negotiation window opened on Monday, Aug. 2, sent Tomáš Satoranský, Garrett Temple and a future second-round pick to New Orleans in exchange for Ball, who agreed to a four-year, $85 million contract.

The result, and consequence, of the investigation obviously remains to be seen. But as Wojnarowski noted in a later tweet, the league recently raised the maximum fine for tampering to $10 million, and "opened the door" for other penalties, such as the voiding of contracts, surrendering of draft picks or even suspension of executives.

One recent example of the penalties a tampering investigation can produce was the Bucks' Bogdan Bogdanović saga. Last December, the NBA stripped Milwaukee of a 2022 second-round pick after finding they made premature contact with Bogdanović's camp while negotiating a sign-and-trade agreement with the Kings, which eventually fell apart.

While the Heat have formally announced the Lowry signing, the Bulls have yet to make the Ball signing official. Now, both sides await the league's judgement.


This story will be updated as necessary.

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