Suns lose 2nd-round pick after NBA investigation into tampering for Drew Eubanks

Oct 10, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Drew Eubanks (14) against the Denver Nuggets during a preseason game at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Phoenix Suns broke league rules to land big man Drew Eubanks. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA rescinded a 2024 second-round draft pick from the Phoenix Suns after finding they broke league rules to communicate with Drew Eubanks about his free agency, according to an announcement Wednesday. Phoenix acquired the pick from the Denver Nuggets in a trade this offseason.

The team was under investigation by the league for "potential impermissible early contact," NBA insider Marc Stein reported hours before the NBA's official ruling.

Phoenix overhauled its roster over the summer. After trading for Bradley Beal in June, the Suns took advantage of a three-team trade to convert Deandre Ayton into Jusuf Nurkić, Grayson Allen and Nassir Little in September.

Eubanks joined the Suns on a two-year, $5 million contract. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that news at 6:05 p.m. ET June 30 — five minutes into the official start of free agency.

It's unlikely Phoenix made contact and completed a deal with Eubanks within that short amount of time. That said, teams often communicate with players' representation before free agency.

The 26-year-old was previously in a rotation role with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 6.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He came off the bench to contribute four points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the Suns' opening night victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. He will likely be used as a reserve center behind Nurkić, which makes the consequence of his signing a little funny.

Tampering violations are normally incurred in transactions surrounding higher-profile players. The Bulls and Miami Heat lost second-round picks for breaking league rules to discuss the free agency of guards Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry in 2021, for example.

The Suns responded to the league's decision in a statement via social media, saying they were "disappointed with the results of the NBA investigation." Without admitting to a violation, the team said it was an accidental infringement before expressing excitement for the 2023-24 season.

The Suns' California road trip continues as the team takes on the Los Angeles Lakers at 10 p.m. ET Thursday (TNT).