Bulls lose 2nd-rounder in investigation into Ball signing originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The league announced on Wednesday, Dec. 1, it found that both the Bulls and Miami Heat, who were investigated concurrently for the sign-and-trade that netted them Kyle Lowry, "violated league rules governing the timing of this season's free agency discussions."
That means the Bulls, in the case of Ball, and the Heat, in the case of Lowry, were found to have contacted representatives of free-agent players prior to Aug. 2, when those discussions were officially allowed to begin. The Bulls acquired Ball (on a four-year, $80 million contract) from the Pelicans in exchange for Tomáš Satoranský, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick in a transaction that was first reported minutes after the start of the free-agent negotiation window on Aug. 2.
The punishment? The Bulls and Heat will each be docked their next available second-round draft pick.
"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 team said in a statement.
The next year the Bulls own their second-round pick is 2026, according to Real GM. Because of stipulations in previous trades, the Bulls owe their 2022 second-round pick to either the Spurs or Kings, their 2023 second-round pick to the Lakers, their 2024 second-round pick to the Pelicans and their 2025 second-round pick to the Spurs. They're also owed the Nuggets' second-round pick in 2023, but only if it falls from 47-60.
All in all, it's a relatively light punishment. A fine of up to $10 million, forfeiture of a first-round pick or the suspension of executives were also possible outcomes.
Through 22 games, the Bulls sit 14-8 and second in the Eastern Conference. Ball is averaging 12.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from 3-point range.