After months of investigating the sign-and-trade deals that sent Lonzo Ball to the Bulls and Kyle Lowry to the Heat, the NBA has finally handed down punishments to both franchises.
The NBA announced on Wednesday afternoon that Chicago and Miami will lose future second-round picks after the organizations engaged in discussions with player representatives before the official start of the 2021 free agency period. In a memo to other teams, the league said that the Bulls and Heat “fully cooperated with the investigations,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and that was a factor in how it determined what the penalties would be.
Among the penalties that were available to the NBA: Fines up to $10M per team, loss of draft picks and suspension of team executives.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 1, 2021
What illegal actions did the Bulls and Heat take? And how did they react to the loss of draft picks?
Why did the Bulls and Heat lose NBA Draft picks?
Here is the NBA’s official statement on its investigations into the Bulls and Heat:
The NBA announced today that the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat each violated league rules governing the timing of this season’s free agency discussions and that the league has directed that each team’s next available second-round draft pick be forfeited. These determinations followed investigations into free agency discussions engaged in by the Bulls with respect to Lonzo Ball and by the Heat with respect to Kyle Lowry.
Details of the sign-and-trade deals were reported almost immediately after free agency kicked off at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 2. Sign-and-trade agreements are often complicated and require significant time to complete, so those deals set off alarm bells in the league office, leading to the investigations.
The NBA ultimately concluded that the teams and representatives had conversations before they were permitted to do so and forced each squad to give up a second-round pick.
Per a league source: the punishments handed down to the Bulls and Heat of forfeiture of their next available second round picks is truly the next pick either team has. It does not have to be their own pick.
Both teams have picks owed to them with protections/conditions attached.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) December 1, 2021
Lowry signed a three-year, $85 million deal with the Heat as part of the deal between Miami and Toronto. The Raptors acquired Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa.
Ball signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Bulls as part of the deal between Chicago and New Orleans. The Pelicans acquired Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky and a future second-round pick.
How did the Bulls and Heat react to the NBA’s ruling?
The Chicago Bulls cooperated completely with the league in its investigation. We are glad this process has concluded and look forward to the rest of our season.
While we disagree, we accept the league’s decision. We are moving on with our season.