NBA announced Monday They were stripping the Philadelphia 76ers of their second-round selections in 2023 and 2024 due to violations of “the league’s rules governing the timing of this season’s free-agency discussions”. The association found that The Sixers “engaged in free agency discussions” with PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. before “allowing such discussions”.
Shortly after this news broke, ESPN’s Adrian Vojnarowski It reported that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association “are expected to reconsider the rules that penalize teams that are found to have had discussions with player agents regarding suspended free agents prior to the official start of free agency.” “This practice is rampant, but it is difficult to control and largely impossible to eradicate,” Voinarovsky added.
The Sixers penalty is a symbol of how inconsistent the NBA has been with the application of absurdity in recent years.
In 2019, the league’s board of governors approved “a series of measures to enforce compliance more stringently in manipulating salary cap overruns,” according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Those penalties included fines of up to $10 million, loss of enlistment formulas, suspensions of executives found guilty of tampering and even threatening to void contracts.
“The terms were passed unanimously,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters afterwards. “And there was a strong view, I think, of everyone in the room that we need to make sure that we’re creating a culture of compliance in this league and that our teams want to know they’re competing on the playing field and frankly don’t want to feel hurt if they’re sticking to our existing rules.”
There’s only one problem: Teams still don’t compete on a level playing field in free agency. John Hollinger, who spent seven seasons as vice president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, said the same thing in early August when news of the manipulation of the NBA’s investigations into the Sixers and New York Knicks broke.
“Breaking news: The free agency was 90 percent done by the time it was allegedly started,” Hollinger wrote for The Athletic. “Virtually every player of significance announced a deal in the first 36 hours of this year. Many of these announcements, no doubt, were still too late to provide cover for plausible deniability.”
You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to reveal proof of that either. The newscasting experts of the NBA are living proof.
During the first minute of this off-season free agency, Shams Al-Sharaniyah The Athletic Club reports that the Denver Nuggets have agreed to a contract with veteran center DeAndre Jordan. seconds later, stated That Nix had agreed to a two-year, “$16 million deal” with Free Agent Center Isaiah Hartenstein.
Charania reports Sixers signing Tucker and House 6:01 p.m. And the 6:07 pm, Straight. It’s hard to argue that the Sixers have reasonable deniability for any signature. Then again, even before Charania broke the news of Jordan’s deal with Denver, he and his colleague Sam Amic mentioned Monk’s owner was finalizing a deal with the Sacramento Kings. in 6:02 PMReport the financial details (2 years, $19 million) of Monk’s new contract.
Charania isn’t the only news hacker to have had some impossible early scoops of free agent over the years, either. Last season, Jake Fisher effectively broke the entire New York Knicks season into the Bleacher Report hours before the free agency kicked off.
Fisher reported that the Knicks were “widely rumored to have set their sights on Evan Fournier”, who is likely to sign a “three-year contract worth $18 million annually.” He ended up signing a four-year deal worth $73 million, although the final year is the club’s $19 million option. Fisher also reported that Alec Burkes was expected to sign with the Knicks “a three-year deal worth about $30 million” – he did just that – and it seemed Nirlence Noel was “likely to return” with a deal “worth just over $10 million.” dollars annually. (He ended up signing a three-year, $27.7 million contract.)
Although Fisher made it clear what the Knicks would do, roughly to the exact dollar amount, the NBA didn’t tie them to the selection. The league has also not opened an investigation into the manipulation of Jordan’s Nuggets, Friar Kings or Knicks for Harttenstein this season. (The Nicks are being investigated for signing Galen Bronson, though.)
The league has made second-round picks from the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in recent years due to tamper violations, but all three instances were signings and trading — which would require cooperation from two teams — rather than free agent signings. . The first case was particularly egregious, with Wojnarowski reporting that the Bucks had acquired Bogdan Bogdanovic in signing and trading three days before the teams were allowed to contact free agents.
If the NBA starts cracking down on banal absurdity, where will it draw the line? Will another team be required to file a complaint with the league’s office before an investigation is opened? Will you proactively investigate any team whose signatures expire once you open a free agency? (Are we really supposed to believe that Nuggets and Knicks agreed to their own deals with Jordan and Hartenstein in the first minute of free agency without any prior communication?)
If tampering is “rampant, but hard to control and largely impossible to eradicate,” Voinarovsky said Monday, selective enforcement with relatively toothless penalties wouldn’t deter it. The league should either start punishing every apparent case of manipulation — Jordan, Monk and Hartenstein all fit the law that’s inappropriate — or rethink its rules from the ground up.
On the bright side for Sixers fans, though: The National Basketball Association found “nothing wrong” with James Harden’s decision to reject his player option and re-sign for $14.4 million less, according to Charania. Had the league found evidence of salary cap cheating, it would likely have dropped a more severe hammer on them than stripping two of their second-round picks.
Unless otherwise noted, all stats via NBA.comAnd the PBPStatsAnd the cleaning the glasses or basketball reference. All salary information via crook or RealGM. All possibilities via FanDuel Sportsbook.