The Milwaukee Bucks might be facing a penalty for getting too aggressive in their chase to build a winner around two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The NBA is investigating the Bucks for possible tampering as a result of a botched sign-and-trade agreement with the Sacramento Kings, according to The New York Times. The focus is on how or if the parameters of the trade were agreed upon, the Associated Press said.
ESPN reported Monday a sign-and-trade agreement for the Bucks to acquire shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings for Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova. But Bogdanovic becomes a restricted free agent at 6 p.m. Friday – he cannot legally talk to other teams until then – and was not in a position to agree to any sign-and-trade at that time.
Two days later, hours before the NBA Draft, The Athletic reported the deal could be called off because Bogdanovic had not agreed to the terms of the trade. Because he is a restricted agent, the Kings have the right to match any offer Bogdanovic receives, and reports indicate he plans to test the waters.
The Bucks released Ilyasova, signaling that the deal as originally constructed is not going to happen.
The NBA is cracking down on tampering under commissioner Adam Silver, who emphasized it before the 2019-20 season.
“We already have rules on the books,” Silver said then, “and essentially the league was coming in at the direction of our teams and saying — and I’ll accept responsibility — you need to do a better job enforcing the rules that are already on your books and do a better job ensuring that there is a culture around the league where people believe there are absolute consequences if you don’t play by the rules.”
Antetokounmpo is in the final year of his contract with the Bucks and the organization is trying to convince him to stay in Milwaukee rather than creating a super-team in a bigger media market. The Bucks’ surprisingly early exit from the 2020 NBA Playoffs — in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Heat — cast doubt over their readiness to win a championship.
Milwaukee did acquire guard Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans in a separate pre-draft deal.
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