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Raja Bell explains how tampering works

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Giannis still hasn't signed with the Bucks, and after we found out Bogdanović was his wish, it only increased the speculation that losing Bogdanović may lead to losing Giannis. Jake Fisher's article revealed how tampering works in 2020. 

For months, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis Antetokounmpo's brother and a Milwaukee Bucks guard, stayed in regular contact with Bogdan Bogdanovic. They spoke numerous times over the phone, sources said, with Thanasis hoping to eventually court the guard's services this offseason. During a few calls, Giannis communicated his desire in teaming with Bogdanovic.

Jake Fisher, BR

But this isn't why the league put their foot down on the deal. The article indicates Milwaukee management bragged about their offseason on a call teams had with the league, and that's what triggered other teams to lodge official complaints. Raja Bell explained it in simple terms. 

Why the fu** would the league be concerned about this particular case of tampering when it's known to be happening all over the place. And then my next thought is how bad did you have to fu** up if you were Milwaukee and Giannis to get the league to actually do something about it. It is one of those rules. It's understood it's happening; the NBA knows it's happening; they don't want to have to do anything about it. It's like, don't rub it in my face. 

Raja Bell, The Ringer NBA Show

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It seems that was what happened. The Bucks got a bit too excited, and Bogdanović is now in Atlanta. Bell went into detail, explaining that tampering, particularly a player talking to other players, is common knowledge. We all know Draymond was working on KD for a long time before he joined the Warriors. 

Bell pointed out Steve Nash is his friend, and while playing for the Jazz, he knew the Suns had an interest in bringing him in long before it was legal for him to know there was interest. But there's no way to police this. The only thing the NBA expects is for teams to do in on the down-low. 

The last time I was a free agent and I was finishing up with Golden State; I was using those pregames as my workout routines to audition for teams, to let them know I was healthy. My agent had been contacted by 5 or 6 teams, having seen me workout prior to a game, saying they'd have interest that summer. Again, that's tampering, but it happens all the time. 

Raja Bell, The Ringer NBA Show

We all feel for small market teams who's only chance to have a player commit long term is probably what the Bucks did - find a diamond in the rough and nurture a sense of community and loyalty. But if Giannis leaves, we can't blame the NBA league office for this one. First, they let Malcolm Brogdon leave to the Pacers, and now they shot themselves in the foot because they couldn't keep it quiet. Yes, everyone is doing it. But most teams know now to shout it from the rooftops before it's OK to do so. 

I hope Giannis stays in Milwaukee and fights to get the ring with the team that drafted him and the city that embraced him. To me, Dirk's one title in Dallas is worth two or three with a superteam in a flashier market. But the Bucks won't have anyone to blame but themselves if Antetokounmpo leaves. 

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