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Bulls, Heat Forfeit Second-Round Draft Picks in Ball, Lowry Deals

The NBA is penalizing teams who apparently negotiated with free agents too early.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA’s probe into the free agency sign and trades centering around Kyle Lowry of the Miami Heat and Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls has been completed. The NBA has found each team in violation of league-mandated tampering rules. As a result, the Bulls and Heat are required to forfeit their first available future second round draft picks. The news comes according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Both Ball and Lowry’s sign and trades were announced on the first day of NBA Free Agency, 2021. Ball’s extension and trade were announced one minute after the opening of the signing period, Lowry’s trade and extension being announced within the hour.

This penalty echoes the Milwaukee Bucks’ tampering fine from one year prior. That involved a sign and trade with Bogdan Bogdanovic being announced three days before the start of free agency.

The NBA is signaling that it’s taking tampering more seriously, attempting to crack down on discussions occuring before the beginning of free agency.