The NBA is nearly done with its probe into possible tampering regarding the sign-and-trade acquisitions of both Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball and Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry.
The investigation has reached “advanced stages,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday night. It’s still unknown when the probe will conclude, or if the NBA will hand down any punishments.
The NBA started investigating both teams in August in an effort to determine if illegal contact and negotiations occurred before the free agency period started on Aug. 2. Both Lowry’s deal to land in Miami and Ball’s to land in Chicago happened very quickly once free agency began — something that is generally uncommon with sign-and-trade deals.
As part of its investigation, the league has conducted multiple interviews with team executives and agents, and gathered electronic messaging from the Bulls, Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors.
Ball signed a four-year, $85 million deal with the Bulls after spending last season with the Pelicans. Lowry agreed to a three-year deal with the Heat after a long stint with the Raptors. Both of those deals were rumored to be in the works before free agency even started.
It’s unclear what punishments the league will hand down if it finds any party at fault, though they could range from a loss of a draft pick, to fines or even the voiding of contracts. The maximum fine is $10 million.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the last team to be penalized for tampering after attempting to sign Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic last year, which resulted in them losing a second-round draft pick.