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NBA

NBA investigation into Bulls and Heat reaches advanced stage

Started in August the probe into pre-free-agency tampering is coming to an end. Expect findings and fines soon enough.

Update:
NBA investigation into Bulls and Heat reaches advanced stage
USA TODAY Sports

The league's investigation into two teams is in an advanced stage according to sources.

The NBA have advanced their investigation of the Bulls and the Heat

According to ESPN, the NBA's investigation into possible pre-free-agency tampering with regards to the sign-and-trade acquisitions of Chicago's Lonzo Ball and Miami's Kyle Lowry has arrived at an advanced stage. The news came on Friday on the back of developments in another high profile league probe involving the Phoenix Suns and work place conduct. The NBA apparently conducted a number of interviews with team executives and player agents in an effort to gather the electronic correspondences of front office executives of four different teams - Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and Toronto.The league's intention is to review messages over the past three months, with findings and possible sanctions expected to be announced in the near future.

The investigation was initially reported on August 7th when it was understood that the league would taking a look at whether illegal contact and negotiation occurred among teams and agents in advance of the opening of free agency window on August 2nd at 6 p.m. ET. The NBA for it's part implemented stricter penalties in those cases in 2019. Said penalties included an increase in the maximum fine for teams taking it to $10 million. Additionally the league also green lit measures such as the possibility of suspension for team executives, forfeiting draft picks and even the out right voiding of contracts. It is important to note, however that the possibility of the contracts being voided is a largely unlikely scenario as it would depend on a variety of other factors.

What exactly did the Bulls and the Heat do?

Typically sign-and-trade arrangements are more complicated and time-consuming than a traditional free agent player signings. They often require a greater level of discussion and negotiation in order to be completed, which of course means more time. Where Lonzo Ball was concerned, New Orleans agreed to trade Ball, a restricted free agent, to Chicago on a four-year, $80 million contract for Garrett Temple on a new, three-year, $15.5 million contract for guard Tomas Satoransky. Where Miami is concerned, they negotiated a three-year, $85 million deal with Lowry in the sign-and-trade that sent guard Goran Dragic and forward Precious Achiuwa to the Raptors. The Heat guaranteed Dragic's $19.4 million team option on Sunday, which allowed them to use him in the sign-and-trade deal.

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Incidentally, defending NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks were penalized resulting in the loss of a 2022 second-round pick for tampering charges. The sanctions were related to Sacramento's restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic in 2021.

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