Bulls, Heat Forfeit Draft Picks After Lonzo Ball, Kyle Lowry Tampering Probe

Adam WellsDecember 1, 2021

Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry looks for an open teammate during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls have been forced to forfeit their next second-round draft picks as punishment for violating the NBA's tampering rules. 

Per an official statement from the NBA, it was determined both clubs "violated league rules governing the timing of this season's free-agency discussions" regarding their acquisitions of Kyle Lowry (Heat) and Lonzo Ball (Bulls). 

NBA Communications @NBAPR

The following has been announced by the NBA. <a href="https://t.co/SDE7TcwtmE">pic.twitter.com/SDE7TcwtmE</a>

The Heat issued a statement on Twitter responding to the league's announcement:

Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT

<a href="https://t.co/Y3j3Y5fYCv">pic.twitter.com/Y3j3Y5fYCv</a>

The Heat and Bulls agreed to sign-and-trade deals to acquire Lowry and Ball in separate moves on Aug. 2, the day the NBA's free-agency negotiating period began. 

Chicago gave Ball a four-year, $85 million contract and sent Garrett Temple, Tomas Satoransky, a 2024 second-round draft pick and cash to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the sign-and-trade agreement. 

Miami sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa to the Toronto Raptors in the deal for Lowry, who received a three-year, $85 million contract from the Heat. 

Five days later, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported the league opened a tampering investigation into both deals to "examine illegal contact among teams and players" before the start of free agency. 

Wojnarowski reported on Nov. 12 that the NBA's investigation had "reached the advanced stages" with the league having completed "numerous interviews with team executives and player agents and gathered electronic messaging" from front-office members of the four teams involved (Heat, Bulls, Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Pelicans). 

Wednesday's announcement marks the first time a team has been docked a draft pick for tampering since December 2020. The Milwaukee Bucks had to forfeit their 2022 second-round selection for having illegal contact with Bogdan Bogdanovic and/or his agent in the offseason.