Following the NBA’s investigation into potential tampering, both the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls will forfeit their next available second-round pick, the league announced in a release on Wednesday morning. The NBA determined each franchise “violated league rules governing the timing of this season’s free agency discussions.”
The following has been announced by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/SDE7TcwtmE
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 1, 2021
Ball reportedly signed an offer sheet with Chicago immediately once free agency opened at 6 p.m. EST, while Lowry and the Heat were linked even before free agency commenced. On Aug. 1, roughly 20 hours ahead of free agency, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted, “Once discussions are permitted to begin with the opening of NBA free agency on Monday, the Miami Heat are positioning themselves to become frontrunners to land Toronto’s Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade agreement.”
Of course, neither of these “punishments” are severe by any means and are unlikely to dissuade future teams from tampering with imminent free agents. If the NBA wishes to actually address this perceived problem, it would issue sterner penalties, though tampering, in the grand scheme, feels like a non-issue and something that doesn’t warrant heightened focus on repercussions.
The arrival of Ball and Lowry in their new Eastern Conference digs has helped each squad snag a top-three seed through the season’s quarter poll. Chicago is 14-8 and the No. 2 seed, half a game up on the 13-8, third-seeded Heat.