The NBA doesn’t like teams and players manipulating the rules, and it looks like maybe two teams skipped the gun before the free agency phase began.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the league has launched an investigation into the sign-and-trade acquisition of Lonzo Ball by the Chicago Bulls and the sign-and-trade of the Miami Heat for Kyle Lowry for possible tampering. The league wants to check if there was contact before 6 p.m. ET on Monday, as such contact would have been prohibited beforehand.
Two years ago, the NBA tightened the penalties for tampering. Teams can expect to be fined up to $ 10 million for tampering, $ 6 million for improper deals, and $ 5 million for comments attempting to lure players into another team, according to the NBA. In addition, the NBA can cancel contracts, take away draft picks and suspend executives. Commissioner Adam Silver also has the authority to take cell phones, tablets and other devices with him for an investigation.
Free agency manipulation has always been around, but the league just can’t keep up with the situation if players and teams just work around the problem.