The NBA recently opened an investigation on the sign-and-trade deals of Lonzo Ball with the Chicago Bulls and Kyle Lowry with the Miami Heat for possible violations. After all, given that free agency opened at 6 p.m. on August 2 and the deals were quickly struck, it raised suspicions that there could be tampering involved in both situations.
However, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami could be safe from any violation considering that ” several mitigating factors would appear to stand in the Heat’s favor.”
As the report noted, the sign-and-trade deals that Chicago and Miami made for Ball and Lowry, respectively, differ because the Heat have previously engaged in trade talks with the Toronto Raptors for Kyle Lowry. To recall, the South Beach franchise tried to acquire the veteran guard at the 2021 trade deadline, though to no avail.
However, through that negotiations, the Heat were able to identify the financial requirements to match salaries and pull off the sign-and-trade.
At the time, the Raptors laid out potential parameters for a trade, an NBA source confirmed to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, with it also clear at the time what the financial parameters would be to sign Lowry in free agency. Lowry ultimately agreed to a three-year, $85 million contract that starts at $27 million this coming season.
Aware of those parameters, the Heat last Sunday picked up the 2021-22 $19.4 million team option on the contract of veteran guard Goran Dragic, with that contract along with the contract of neophyte center Precious Achiuwa utilized as matching salaries for the Lowry acquisition.
The punishment for potential tampering violations could be costly. While it is unlikely for the NBA to void the deals, the Heat and Bulls could be fined if they are found to tamper on the players. For what it’s worth, the Milwaukee Bucks had a second-round pick taken away from them after tampering on Bogdan Bogdanovic ahead of the 2020 free agency.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the Heat. However, fans are certainly hopeful that the team would be safe from any violation and punishment.