The NBA has completed its tampering investigations regarding the deals involving Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry, and the result was nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat will both have to forfeit their next available second-round draft pick, the NBA announced on Wednesday.
That punishment is light considering the NBA could have fined the franchises up to $10 million each and handed out suspensions to team executives. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league told teams in a memo that the Bulls and Heat “fully cooperated with the investigations” and that their cooperation was taken into account.
Chicago acquired Ball in a sign-and-trade deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal was reported almost immediately when the free agency legal tampering period began, though it wasn’t completed until Aug. 8.
The Heat acquired Lowry in a sign-and-trade deal with the Toronto Raptors. The deal was completed on Aug. 6 but Lowry announced an hour into free agency on Aug. 2 that he would be signing with Miami.
Sign-and-trade deals can be complex to pull off. So when the deals were reported so quickly, red flags apparently were raised for the league.
The NBA reviewed electronic messages from agents and team executives during their investigation. The Pelicans and Raptors were also investigated due to their involvement, but no punishment was announced for either team.
Photo: Mar 26, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball warms up before their game against the Denver Nuggets at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Heat players were apparently waiting for the Denver Nuggets after Monday’s game like Bishop behind Q’s locker in “Juice.”
Photographer Aaron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post posted an incredible picture to his Instagram page of the Heat gathering in the hallway after Denver’s Nikola Jokic delivered a cheap shot on Miami’s Markieff Morris (video here). Ontiveroz writes that the Heat players, led by Jimmy Butler, were looking to confront the Nuggets but that security intervened.
In the picture, you can see Butler and other Heat players (including Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, and Dewayne Dedmon) glaring menacingly. Andy Elisburg, the GM of the Heat, appears to be the one preventing them from going any further. None of Miami’s players were made available to the media for comment after Monday’s game.
That amazing picture of the Heat definitely adds to the overall surrealness of the Jokic-Morris episode. We haven’t seen anything quite like this one since the incident that took place in Los Angeles a few years ago.
Photo: Jan 22, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
John Wall seems likely to leave the Houston Rockets sooner than later, and one top contender may be ready to pounce.
David Aldridge of The Athletic said in an article this week that he predicts Wall will end up with the Miami Heat. Aldridge mentions that Wall lives in Miami during the offseason and that the Heat are famous for extending the careers of talented players who have been felled by injuries.
The ex-All-Star Wall has essentially agreed to part ways with the rebuilding Rockets. But the roughly $90 million Wall has left on his contract makes him effectively untradeable, leaving the 31-year-old to wait for a buyout.
If and when Wall does secure a buyout, the Heat make plenty of sense. After a Finals appearance in 2020, they reloaded this offseason with the signings of Kyle Lowry, PJ Tucker, and Markieff Morris. Miami’s current sixth man is 21-year-old Tyler Herro, who is more of a natural 2-guard.
Wall averaged 20.9 points and 6.9 assists per game last season and could easily lead a second unit. He might also provide some much-needed insurance for an uncertain Heat backcourt rotation.
H/T Heat Nation
Photo: Nov 8, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) walks on the court after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Miami Heat star Victor Oladipo is growing tired of the single life and is now on the hunt for love.
Oladipo, who was traded to the Heat in March and later had season-ending surgery to repair his right quadriceps tendon, took to Twitter on Friday to voice his frustration.
The revelation came shortly after Drake released his much-anticipated new album, “Certified Lover Boy.” Oladipo and other NBA stars were quick to pick it up, but clearly some of the lyrics got into their emotions a bit.
Or at least that appears to be the case with Oladipo.
Oladipo had previously been linked to Instagram model Natalia Castillo, but dismissed those rumors prior to being traded to Miami. He declared himself single at the time and that apparently remains the case six months later.
Oladipo’s tweet sparked quite a debate in his comments. Some inquired about potentially dating the 6-foot-5 millionaire, while others took a much different tone.
The NBA is notorious for its strict anti-tampering policies, and that could get at least two teams in trouble for moves made this offseason.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the league has launched an investigation into the Chicago Bulls’ sign-and-trade acquisition of Lonzo Ball, as well as the Miami Heat’s sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry, over possible tampering. The league wishes to look into whether there was contact prior to 6 p.m. ET on Monday, as such contact would have been prohibited prior to that time.
It’s not clear what punishment the teams involved might face if they are found to have tampered with Ball and Lowry. Commissioner Adam Silver has the power to levy substantial fines and strip teams of draft picks for tampering, which can be thoroughly investigated thanks to a controversial set of rules that came into force in 2019. Silver could even void the deals if he feels that is appropriate.
Free agent tampering has always been an iffy proposition in the NBA. Numerous deals were reported as agreed to within minutes of free agency’s opening, and it certainly seems unlikely that coveted free agents came to an agreement with teams that quickly unless there was some prior legwork done. Lowry, for instance, had long been linked with the Heat before the deal got done. It’s simply a matter of how aggressively the NBA wants to combat it.
The Miami Heat have the point guard they covet.
Kyle Lowry announced less than an hour into free agency on Monday that he would join the Heat, joining forces with Jimmy Butler.
Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports had been first to report that Lowry would sign a three-year deal and would join via a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors.
Lowry leaves behind the Raptors as one of the franchise’s greatest-ever players. The Heat have been considered frontrunners for him for some time, and even looked into trading for him at the trade deadline. He’s close with Butler, and the two should lead a fantastic defensive unit in Miami.
The Heat also agreed to new contracts with Butler and Duncan Robinson on Monday, securing their core for years to come. There are rumors that they might have another big addition in mind as well.
Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 4.0
Kyle Lowry rates as one of the top free agents available this offseason, and the point guard figures to have no shortage of suitors. One looks to be a team that trailed him as a trade target last season.
Grant Afseth of SI reported that the Miami Heat are viewed as the frontrunner to sign Lowry. The Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans are also expected to be interested.
The Heat have a $19.4 million team option on Goran Dragic, with a decision due imminently. If that option is declined, it opens up the possibility of Lowry being brought in. The Heat leaned primarily on Kendrick Nunn as their starting point guard last season, and while his scoring ability has value, he’s a restricted free agent and Lowry would be a definite upgrade.
The Heat targeted Lowry in trade talks during the season, but were unable to get a deal over the line. That interest clearly hasn’t faded, and the fit makes a lot of sense for a Heat team aiming to contend now.
Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 4.0
The Cleveland Cavaliers appear willing to listen to offers for guard Collin Sexton, and several teams may be prepared to do what it takes to land the young scorer.
According to Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, the Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Pelicans, Pacers, and Thunder are among the teams considering making a run at Sexton. Talks are said to be in the “exploratory stage,” and no real offers have been made yet.
Amico adds that several of these teams would be willing to take on Kevin Love’s contract in order to facilitate a Sexton trade. This is something Cleveland may look to do if it decides to move Sexton, as the 32-year-old has two years and $60.2 million remaining on a deal that has become quite cumbersome for the rebuilding Cavaliers.
The 22-year-old Sexton is clearly available. He averaged 24.3 points per game last season, but there remain questions about whether he can coexist with Darius Garland. The Cavaliers also hold the No. 3 overall pick, and with a potential max extension looming for Sexton, trading him may be the team’s preference.
Kevin Love battled injuries this past season and averaged career-lows in many statistical categories, but it sounds like there could still be a robust trade market for him this summer.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to explore trade possibilities for Love this offseason. According to Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, there are at least five teams that have interest in the 32-year-old — the New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.
New Orleans would be an interesting spot for Love. The Pelicans have a core of young players in Zion Williams, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball that have seemingly infinite potential. They could use a veteran presence like Love now that they ousted Stan Van Gundy after just one season with the team.
The other four teams should all be playoff contenders and may consider Love a piece that could help put them over the top.
Love averaged 12.2 points and 7.4 rebounds this year, which were the worst marks of his career.
Love almost certainly wants a trade, as a recent report indicated he does not really fit in with Cleveland’s future plans.
Kawhi Leonard is eligible to become a free agent once again this summer if he declines his player option, which he is all but certainly going to do. There has been no real reason to think he will leave the Los Angeles Clippers, but at least two teams are waiting to pounce if he does.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer was told by sources that the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are both planning to make a “hard push” to sign Leonard if he tests free agency. Some executives reportedly believe that the Mavericks are the biggest threat to pry Leonard away from L.A., as they have salary cap flexibility and can offer Leonard the opportunity to play with a fellow top-10 player in Luka Doncic.
As O’Connor notes, Leonard tried to recruit Jimmy Butler to the Clippers before L.A. landed Paul George. That means Leonard wanted to play with Butler at some point and still might, which is why the Heat can’t be ruled out. Though, they do not have the necessary salary cap space to sign Leonard and would need to get creative with a sign-and-trade.
The New York Knicks are also monitoring the Leonard situation. It is common knowledge that they are in the market for a star player.
The thought of Leonard winding up in Dallas is intriguing. The Mavericks have already undergone significant changes this offseason by bringing in a new head coach and general manager. There also appears to be some tension between their two biggest stars.
George signed a five-year max extension with the Clippers last year, so he is committed to the team. Recent reports have indicated that Leonard is as well, but we know better than to rule anything out during an NBA offseason.