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Bulls, Heat punished by NBA for tampering with Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball

The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat made big-splash moves to begin free agency that quickly led to a league investigation.

Four months after the Bulls signed Lonzo Ball and Heat inked Kyle Lowry to a deal, the NBA announced that the two teams would receive the punishment of losing their next available second-round draft picks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.


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After a four-month investigation, the NBA has punished the Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat with the loss of second-round draft picks because of premature discussions into the free agency of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, the league announced Wednesday.

The league’s swift action comes due to the findings that both teams held discussions with the players’ representatives ahead of the start of free agency on Aug. 2. The franchises were fully cooperative with the investigation that likely led to the punishment not being as stern.

It doesn’t mark the first time the NBA went that route. The Milwaukee Bucks lost a 2022 second-round pick due to tampering with Sacramento Kings free restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. What made the situation more troublesome is that Bogdanovic wound up signing with the Atlanta Hawks on a four-year, $72 million deal.

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The NBA’s actions will likely result in teams moving more cautiously into free agency to avoid stiff penalties. It’s no secret that front offices have operated with players’ representatives before the start of free agency.

However, it makes the Bulls and Heat’s punishment an example. It sends a stern warning to the rest of the league.

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