Bulls losing 2nd-round pick after NBA finds they violated tampering rules
What's more than a slap on the wrist, but not enough punishment that anyone really notices?
The NBA decided forfeiting a second-round pick was the appropriate punishment for the Bulls and Miami Heat, as the league announced the outcome of its long-running tampering investigation.
The league decided there was some early contact between the Bulls and representatives of Lonzo Ball, a player they acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with New Orleans a few hours after free-agency officially began this summer. Miami was ruled to have early contact with guard Kyle Lowry.
The Bulls basketball operations team of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley declined to comment on the investigation or punishment. The team released a very brief statement, which read, "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."
The league didn't have much to say, either, releasing a two-sentence news release, which said each team violated rules governing the timing of free agency discussions and would forfeit their next available second-round draft pick.
The Bulls have already traded their next four second-round picks, but will get one from Denver in 2023 as part of the Lauri Markkanen three-way sign-and-trade.
The Bulls were dragged relentlessly on social media for selling their second-round draft pick to Golden State for a reported $3.5 million in 2017, so that adds a bit of irony to this situation. The Warriors took Oregon forward Jordan Bell, who did well as a rookie, but is no longer on an NBA roster.
There was some speculation the Bulls could be docked a first-round pick as a result of the tampering investigation, so that part is a relief for the organization. The Bulls already owe their 2023 first-rounder to Orlando in the Nikola Vucevic trade and their 2025 first-rounder to San Antonio for DeMar DeRozan. They added a lottery-protected 2022 pick from Portland in the Markkanen deal.
Ball had long been rumored to have interest in joining the Bulls and there were reportedly trade discussion between the Bulls and Pelicans last February. So no one was surprised Ball ended up with the Bulls, but the league was concerned about how quickly the deal came together.
"For the organization, I'm obviously happy it's over and done with," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "I think there's a lot of things internally that the league wants to handle privately. So other than knowing that they were looking into things, that's all I really knew about."
"Arturas was very transparent with me that this was going on, but just based on the league and the way it was being handled, just wasn't able to offer me any information."