The NBA announced today that the Milwaukee Bucks violated league rules governing the timing of this season’s free agency discussions and that the league has rescinded the Bucks’ 2022 second round draft pick.
The league conducted an investigation into whether the Bucks had discussions with Bogdan Bogdanović and/or his agent regarding a free agent contract prior to the date when such discussions were permitted. The investigation concluded that early discussions did in fact occur, constituting conduct detrimental to the NBA.
The penalty took into account the Bucks’ cooperation with the investigation, the absence of evidence of any impermissible early agreement on the terms of a contract between the Bucks and Bogdanović, and the fact that the team ultimately did not sign Bogdanović.
Milwaukee already faced significant challenges in building around its superstar. Losing a second-rounder obviously doesn’t help. Though the pick will likely be in the low 50s, it could’ve added slightly to a trade or provided a cheap player who makes it easier to stay under the hard cap (or luxury tax).
More importantly, this exposes Milwaukee as a franchise that doesn’t know what it’s doing. Tampering is common. But to let word leak of a sign-and-trade for a restricted free agent before free agency officially opened? That was egregious. If they kept their early agreements under wraps like everyone else, the Bucks would’ve avoided this mess – and gotten Bogdanovic. This wasn’t Milwaukee’s only contract-management issue this offseason, either.
Bogdanovic did alright for himself, signing a four-year, $72 million offer sheet with the Hawks. The Kings didn’t match, which is a bummer for them considering they thought they’d get Donte DiVincenzo from the Bucks instead of losing Bogdanovic for nothing.
Sacramento seemingly participated in this impermissible scheme, too, by the way. But the Kings don’t lose a draft pick. Only Milwaukee – which already owed its 2021 second-rounder to the Pacers – gets penalized.
Which is a good reminder: The NBA’s tampering rules remain arbitrarily enforced.
That said, it’s tough to feel bad for the Bucks considering how blatantly they flaunted their violation. They were practically begging for this trouble.