Report: NBA investigating tampering in scuttled Bogdanovic trade to Milwaukee

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On Tuesday, reports leaked that Milwaukee and Sacramento had agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that would send Bogdan Bogdanovic to the Bucks for Ersan Ilyasova, Donte DiVincenzo, and D.J. Wilson.

Except, teams are not permitted to talk to free agents until the free agency window opens Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern. Meaning the Bucks can’t talk to Bogdanovic, which means they can’t really set up a sign-and-trade like this until Friday. The buzz around the league is that the trade fell apart because the league came down on the Bucks and Kings for agreeing to a trade three days before the free agency window opened.

Now comes word that the league is investigating the proposed trade, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

That investigation could lead to a hefty fine for Milwaukee (they are the ones that technically tampered, the Kings can talk to their own free agent). Of course, what really matters in Milwaukee is what Giannis Antetokounmpo thinks.

Tampering runs rampant through the NBA — and seems more intense this year because of the condensed offseason — but it’s generally done through back channels or in more subtle ways that don’t end up getting reported out to the public. That could fall more on Bogdanovic’s agent — the same one who agreed to a deal with the Spurs for Marcus Morris a couple of years ago, then backed out, costing San Antonio Davis Bertans — than the Bucks.

This all still feels backward. The point of tampering rules is to level the playing field and keep big markets or owners willing to spend money from poaching superstars from smaller markets. In this case, the small market working hard to keep its two-time MVP in Antetokounmpo is the one getting punished. Is that how the system is supposed to work?