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NBA reportedly looking into potential tampering violations in Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry deals

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The NBA will investigate whether any tampering took place during two key offseason sign and trades. The league will reportedly look into two trades — Lonzo Ball's trade to the Chicago Bulls and Kyle Lowry's trade to the Miami Heat, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

In both cases, the league will look into whether there was any early contact with Ball or Lowry before NBA free agency opened at 6 p.m. ET on Aug. 2.

The Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans could have a tough time disproving tampering accusations. Ball signed a four-year, $85 million offer sheet with the team moments after free agency opened. Given that other players were involved in the deal — which wound up being a sign and trade — it could be tough for the Bulls and the Pelicans to prove the deal wasn't discussed before free agency opened. Before free agency opened, the Bulls were rumored to be a suitor for Ball.

The sign and trade that sent Lowry from the Toronto Raptors to the Heat was rumored around the same time as the Ball deal Monday, putting the Heat and Raptors in a similar position to the Bulls and Pelicans. 

What punishments can NBA teams face for tampering?

The NBA has a number of options if it finds any of the teams involved to have tampered with players before free agency opened. 

Punishments can range from a fine to a loss of a draft pick to the contracts being voided.

Voiding the deal would be the most extreme option, though it would take a lot for the NBA to take that step. The league docked the Milwaukee Bucks a draft pick last season after it determined the team tampered in a sign and trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic. While Bogdanovic did not sign with the Bucks, the deal was not voided by the NBA. Bogdanovic never approved the deal in the first place, and opted to sign with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Lonzo Ball is expected to play for the Bulls in 2021.
The Bulls will be investigated by the NBA due to the timing of the Lonzo Ball sign and trade. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

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