NBA legal counsel explains ruling on failed Bogdanovic trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The NBA handed down a slap on the wrist to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday afternoon for their handling of the Bogdan Bogdanovic free agent situation.
For cooperating with the NBA, the Bucks were stripped of their 2021 second round selection, which is likely to land somewhere in the late 50s if Milwaukee is anywhere near as good as they should be this season.
In his annual preseason conversation with the media, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver deferred to the league’s legal counsel to explain where the Bucks went wrong in their pursuit of the former Kings shooting guard.
“So, just for clarity, the rule at issue here is a rule that requires all teams to start having conversations about free-agent contracts at the same time, loosely defined as gun jumping, the idea that the flag for free agency goes down at the same time and everybody should start having those conversations at the same time for reasons of competitive fairness,” NBA General Counsel Rich Buchanan said.
“This is not about tampering,” Buchanan added. “Tampering is the rule where you’re having impermissible contracts with a player who is under contract to another team. And so here the violation was that the team had conversations about a free-agent contract with the representative for this player prior to the time when the CBA permitted them to do that, and as a result, they were penalized.”
The Kings were not penalized for their role in this situation because it is legal to discuss potential trades with opposing teams, even if they involve restricted free agents. Where Milwaukee stepped out of bounds was when they contacted Bogdanovic’s agent, Jason Rainey, and initiated contract discussions.
According to multiple reports, a third team stepped in and filed a claim against the Bucks for “gun jumping.” When the claim was filed, the deal fell apart and Bogdanovic eventually signed an offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta might not be clean in this situation either, but as of now, the league hasn’t launched an investigation into their actions.
Hours before free agency began, Emiliano Carchia from Sportando posted the following message on Twitter.
“Restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic is expected to sign an offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks when free agency begins, a source tells @Sportando”
Bogdanovic signed a four-year, $72 million offer sheet with the Hawks two days later when official signings were allowed.
Sacramento had the option to match the offer sheet from Atlanta, which included a 15 percent trade kicker. During a recent taping of the Woj Pod on ESPN, Kings general manager Monte McNair discussed the decision to allow his most versatile player leave via free agency.
“We looked at a lot of different options, between sign and trade, obviously trying to sign him as well and then ultimately the offer sheet decision that we were faced with Atlanta,” McNair said. “We went through our process. Once we got the offer sheet, we sat down, we had a little more than 48 hours to go through it and let’s put all the factors on the board and go through them.”
It was a grueling two days for the Kings’ new general manager. Bogdanovic is hugely popular in Sacramento and the contract was not outside of reasonable value for the 28-year-old.
In the end, McNair looked at his long term plan for the franchise and chose to not match.
“Not once was the factor anything other than what is going to be best for this team, this organization going forward,” McNair said. “It was a tough decision, but obviously, ultimately we ended up not matching.”
Between the time the deal with the Bucks fell apart and the offer sheet was signed with Atlanta, the Kings selected Tyrese Haliburton with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The fact that Haliburton fell to the Kings was a determining factor in the decision to walk away from Bogdanovic.
“We had gone through the draft and were really excited that Tyrese Haliburton fell to us,” McNair said. “And that also gave us a little extra push that we’ve got this guy coming in, that’s a 1-2.”
While transactions like the failed Bogdanovic trade are commonplace in the NBA, this one hurts for the Kings. Losing a player with Bogdanovic’s skill set and value is tough. Losing him without compensation hurts even more.
Bogdanovic is settling in with the Hawks, Haliburton is in the rotation in Sacramento and the Bucks no longer have a second round pick. One chapter closes and new one begins for everyone involved.
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