NBA strips Bucks of 2022 second-round draft pick for early free-agency discussions regarding Bogdan Bogdanović

Jim Owczarski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Aug 7, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Sacramento Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic, center, moves to the basket against Brooklyn Nets' Garrett Temple, left, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot during the first half of an NBA basketball game at The Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced Monday that it closed its investigation into the Milwaukee Bucks’ contact with then-Sacramento restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanović and found the organization did indeed speak to him or his representation and that such discussions were considered “conduct detrimental to the NBA.”

As a result, the Bucks were stripped of their second-round draft pick in 2022.

In a conference call Monday, NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan clarified that the Bucks were not penalized for tampering, which is contacting a player who is under contract with another team, but rather "gun jumping" the free agency period. Buchanan said the rule was implemented in 2019 at the request of teams. 

"This is a very important rule that all the teams begin the free agency process at the same time," Buchanan said. "(Teams) felt like there needed to be more strict enforcement of this rule to ensure that teams that weren't breaking it weren't falling behind competitively. And we committed to doing that."

The Bucks are the first NBA team to be penalized for "gun jumping."

"We said if we catch it we're going to penalize the team," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "We saw a violation and we acted and penalized the Bucks. It's our hope that that will act as a clear deterrent to any other team who is thinking or will attempt to engage in similar type behavior."

According to the league, its penalty took into account that the Bucks cooperated with the investigation, there was no evidence of an illegal contract agreement between the parties and, ultimately, that Bogdanović did not sign with Milwaukee.

The 28-year-old shooting guard signed a four-year, $72 million offer sheet with Atlanta that the Kings did not match.

He had averaged 13.5 points and shot 37% from behind the three-point line in his three-year career in Sacramento.

"We were fully cooperative with the league and we look forward to our season beginning on Wednesday,” the Bucks said in a statement regarding the penalty. 

After the team concluded practice Monday afternoon, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer reiterated the statement when asked about the decision by the league.

The league launched an investigation after ESPN reported Nov. 16 that the Bucks had agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with Sacramento and Bogdanović to send Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova to the Kings.

Free agency did not open until Nov. 20.

The Bucks eventually waived Ilyasova and DiVincenzo is now part of the starting lineup. The team then signed D.J. Augustin, Torrey Craig, Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis.

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