NBA Hands Out Punishment For Heat and Bulls Offseason Tampering


When the sign-and-trade of Lonzo Ball by the Chicago Bulls was announced at one minute after the free agency period began this summer, you knew the NBA couldn't be happy. The league is doing its best to crack down on tampering, though some might wonder if today's move to strip both the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat of their next available second-round draft picks will act as a real deterrent. 

The NBA investigated "early free agency discussions" by the Bulls and Heat, which is a nice way of saying "tampering". However, league insider Marc Stein refers to the penalties as a "slap on the wrist", and judging by the Heat's reaction, that's the only conclusion one can make. 

“While we disagree, we accept the League’s decision. We are moving on with our season,” said the Miami Heat in a statement. Basically, a shrug of the shoulders.

Kyle Lowry's sign-and-trade to go from the Toronto Raptors to Miami actually leaked out a day before the signing period began. Lonzo Ball's move from New Orleans to Chicago was announced at 6:01pm on August 2nd, one minute after the opening of the signing period. 

The NBA reviewed texts, emails and other engagement from the involved teams' executives, and ultimately ruled that the organizations' cooperation with the investigations played a part in the decision. League rules state that tampering of this sort could be punished severely, with up to $10M fines per team, and suspensions. 

The light-handed approach used instead will likely do nothing to dissuade teams from exercising in "early contact" anytime soon.

Photo Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports