An NBA investigation deemed that the Sixers had discussions with offseason additions PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. prior to the date at which free-agent talks were permitted.
The league announced that Philadelphia would have two second-round picks rescinded as punishment on Monday. One will be taken away in each of the 2023 and 2024 drafts.
Shams Charania reported that the NBA found no wrongdoing in James Harden taking a pay cut of approximately $15 million this past offseason.
The Sixers released a statement in the moments immediately following the league’s announced punishment: “The Philadelphia 76ers fully cooperated with the NBA’s investigation and acknowledge the league’s ruling. We’re moving forward, focused on the season ahead.”
Ultimately, this is a normal happening. There is precedence for such a punishment. So, this is not some instance of the league having it out for the Sixers, as some fans will suggest.
The important takeaway is that the league cleared the Harden re-signing of any wrongdoings. A punishment for any discoveries pertaining to the Harden deal would’ve likely been far more extensive. That outcome, alone, should leave the Sixers satisfied with the conclusion of the investigation.
My perception of these investigations is that NBA teams view losing second-round picks as (necessary) costs of doing business. If that’s what you have to do to lock up a valuable free agent, so be it. Teams that act with urgency to get these deals done ahead of legal time are usually in ‘win-now’ mode. They’re not in a state where mining second-round picks for inexpensive value is a priority. They can comb through the pool of undrafted free agents if they want to search for cost-controlled value.
Long story short: teams aren’t exactly blindsided when the league comes knocking on their doors.