A pair of high-profile moves involving point guards changing teams this week have come under scrutiny from the NBA. According to a report by Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the league is opening up tampering investigations regarding the sign-and-trade that sent Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors to the Miami Heat, as well as the sign-and-trade that saw Lonzo Ball go from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Chicago Bulls.
While Ball’s move was reported right after the league started to allow deals to become agreed upon at 6 p.m. on Aug. 2 (and, it must be mentioned, hasn’t yet been finalized), the Lowry trade was strongly rumored a day in advance and was confirmed by Lowry in a tweet a little more than half an hour after. As the ESPN report notes, due to the complexity that comes with sign-and-trades, both of these moves are coming under scrutiny for being completed so quickly after they were allowed to happen.
The most recent high-profile tampering case came last year regarding the Milwaukee Bucks’ pursuit of Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings, but according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski, the fact that he did not end up in Milwaukee ended up playing a major role in the league’s decision on a penalty.
The NBA instituted more stringent penalties in these cases in 2019, including raising the maximum fine for teams to $10 million and the possibility of suspending team executives, forfeiting draft picks and even the voiding of contracts. Team executives can also have their communications — such as telephone records, texts and emails — randomly audited.
The Milwaukee Bucks lost a 2022 second-round pick for tampering charges with Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic in 2021. With the penalty, the NBA took into consideration that the Bucks did not ultimately sign Bogdanovic — the Atlanta Hawks did.
There is no word on a timetable for the league to complete either investigation.