On Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns were docked their 2024 second-round draft pick for tampering with forward Drew Eubanks before free agency began.
The NBA said the Suns engaged in free agency discussions with Eubanks before the date that talks were permitted. Shams Charania broke the news five minutes after free agency officially opened at 6 p.m. ET on June 30.
Phoenix had to have already been in contact with Eubanks during the early offseason. NBA investigators found it was likely that the Suns engaged in “impermissible contact” prior to the opening of free agency.
Referring to a couple of NBA betting sites, the Pheonix Suns hold fourth-shortest odds to win this season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets.
The following has been released by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/S6eazRctxs
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 25, 2023
How the Suns were caught remains unclear. Perhaps an agent let something slip. Eubanks signed a two-year, $5 million contract with Phoenix on July 2. His deal includes a $2.65 million player option for 2024-25.
Of course, the 2024 pick the Suns lost originally belonged to the Denver Nuggets and was acquired from the Orlando Magic in a previous trade. The league said the Suns cooperated with the investigation.
Phoenix Suns lose 2024 second-rounder for tampering with forward Drew Eubanks, who signed a two-year, $5 million deal
“We are disappointed with the results of the NBA investigation,” the Suns said in a statement. “If there was a violation, it was inadvertent. We are focused on complying with league rules and competing at the highest level every year.
“With that being said, we accept the penalty from the league and are focused on looking forward to this season.”
Last season, theafter the league found they had violated rules governing the timing of free agency when signing PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS 🤯 pic.twitter.com/4gy7dP8I4n
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) October 20, 2023
Dating back to 2021, the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat were each docked their 2022 second-round picks for violating tampering rules when they acquired Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry.
Eubanks, 26, went undrafted in 2018 out of Oregon State University. In the 2022-23 season, the 6-foot-10 wing made 28 starts in 78 appearances, averaging 20.3 minutes per game.
With the Portland Trail Blazers, he averaged 6.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 64.1% from the floor and 66.4% at the foul line.
In the Suns’ 108-104 season-opener win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the forward recorded four points, seven boards, two assists, and three blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.