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NBA investigating Lonzo Ball, Kyle Lowry deals

Dec 23, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA;  New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 23, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) drives to the basket as Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is investigating possible tampering violations involving the Chicago Bulls’ acquisition of Lonzo Ball and the Miami Heat securing the services of fellow guard Kyle Lowry, ESPN reported on Saturday.

Both sign-and-trade deals had been rumored for weeks ahead of their completion.

ESPN reported the league’s probe will examine alleged illegal contact between the teams and players prior to the official opening of free agency this past Monday at 6 p.m. ET.

The Bulls were set to acquire Ball from the New Orleans Pelicans for forward Garrett Temple and guard Tomas Satoransky. Ball, a restricted free agent, plans to sign a four-year, $85 million contract in a sign-and-trade agreement, per numerous outlets. The deal has yet to be finalized by the league office.

Ball averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 55 games (all starts) and shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range with New Orleans last season. In his career, the 23-year-old has posted 11.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 217 games (204 starts) over his four seasons.

Ball was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft with the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded him to the Pelicans in the Anthony Davis deal in 2019.

The Heat and Toronto Raptors completed a sign-and-trade deal on Friday that sent Lowry to Miami in exchange for forward Precious Achiuwa and guard Goran Dragic.

Lowry, who has a new, three-year, $85 million contract, put up averages last season of 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 34.8 minutes. He shot 43.6 percent from the field (39.6 percent from 3-point range) and 87.5 percent at the free-throw line.

Lowry has played 15 NBA seasons — with Memphis, Houston and Toronto — and has averaged 14.9 points, 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 31.8 minutes over 960 career games (724 starts).

–Field Level Media