The NBA has been conducting an investigation into the Suns for potential free agency gun-jumping, reports Marc Stein (via Twitter).
According to Stein, the league’s probe is focused on possible early communication with big man Drew Eubanks, who signed a two-year deal with the team in July. Eubanks’ agreement with Phoenix was reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic at 5:05 pm Central time on June 30, five minutes after free agency officially opened.
A ruling is expected from the NBA soon, according to Stein, who observes that teams found to have jumped the gun with a free agent are typically docked a second-round pick.
At least one team in each of the previous three offeasons has lost a second-rounder due to free agency gun-jumping. The NBA penalized the Bucks in 2020 (for Bogdan Bogdanovic), the Heat and Bulls in 2021 (for Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball, respectively), and the Sixers and Knicks in 2022.
Philadelphia was forced to forfeit two future second-round selections for early contact with both P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, while New York gave up a single pick for talking to Jalen Brunson before free agency began.
There were many contract agreements reported in the first hour after free agency opened on June 30, so it’s unclear why the NBA opened an investigation into the Suns’ deal with Eubanks specifically.
Phoenix has traded away all of its own future second-round selections for the next seven years (picks in 2031 and beyond aren’t yet moveable), so if the team is forced to surrender a second-rounder as a result of the league’s findings, it will likely be Denver’s 2024 pick, which the Suns control.