The NBA is investigating potential tampering by the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat ahead of the opening of 2021 free agency. Both Chicago and Miami were reported to have reached agreement on sign-and-trade transactions just minutes after free agency opened.
Chicago is reportedly adding Lonzo Ball via sign-and-trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. This was one of the first agreements reported, almost immediately after free agency opened at 6:00 PM ET on August 2.
Miami has already announced the acquisition of Kyle Lowry via sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors. The Heat sent Goran Dragic and Precious Achuiwa to the Raptors in that deal. This deal, along with potential terms, was reported on over a day in advance of free agency opening.
Last offseason, the NBA barred the Milwaukee Bucks from adding Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic after it was found the teams illegally entered into an early agreement on a sign-and-trade. In addition, the Bucks were fined and had to forfeit a 2022 second round pick.
Under the NBA's bylaws, the league can impose of a fine of up to $10 million for tampering. They can also void contracts that are deemed to have been agreed to too early. And, as they did with the Bucks, the NBA can force a team to forfeit a draft pick.