If there was one thing that perhaps Sixers general manager Daryl Morey should be aware of by now, it is when to tweet and when to put the phone away. Generally speaking, the second option is his better choice.
Morey and the Sixers were fined $75,000 on Monday, the NBA announced, for a violation of the league’s anti-tampering rule. Per the NBA’s PR department: “The fine is in response to a social media post Morey made June 3 regarding the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. The 76ers also were fined $75,000 for Morey’s conduct.”
The social media post was one taken off of Stephen Curry’s Instagram page, in which the elder Curry was complimenting his younger brother, Seth Curry, for his 30-point performance against the Wizards in the opening round of the playoffs. Seth Curry is in his first season with the Sixers, while Stephen Curry, an MVP candidate and a two-time former MVP, just wrapped up his 12th season with the Warriors.
Steph’s post featured a photo of Seth and the caption, “Aye yo @sdotcurry …..you killed tonight?”
Morey tweeted that post with the quote, “join ‘em.” Almost immediately, he acknowledged that his tweet had been taken as an attempt to recruit Steph Curry to the Sixers, in violation of league rules. Morey tweeted, “My goodness folks I am talking about the fact we are all thrilled @sdotcurry is here with the @sixers – nothing else!”
Morey Fined for Tampering With James Harden Tweet Last Year
The follow-up tweet from Morey was a valiant attempt to squirm out of trouble with the league office, but ultimately, it came up short. It’s easy to see why: “Join ‘em” is an odd phrase to use in a social media post when what you mean to say is, “we’re thrilled he is here.”
Of course, the logical assumption is that Morey did mean for Steph Curry to join Seth in Philly, but he was being tongue-in-cheek on that. Stephen Curry is not a free agent until 2022 and the Sixers will be a long way from having cap space to sign him between now and then.
Morey should have known it does not take much to incur the wrath of the league when it comes to tampering. In December, when James Harden was still with Houston—the team built by Morey until last year, when Morey departed for Philadelphia—Morey posted a photo of Harden from a year earlier, when he broke the Rockets’ all-time assists record.
That was a different case because Harden was still under contract and Morey’s tweet was relatively innocuous—even with the fact that the Sixers were one of the teams in pursuit of Harden via trade with the Rockets, there was little impact a tweet about Harden from Morey would have on the Rockets’ situation.
Still, Morey was fined $50,000 for that infraction.
Morey’s Tweet in Favor of Hong Kong Protestors Caused Backlash
Of course, the big issue Morey has had with Twitter dates back to the start of the 2019-20 season, when pro-democracy protests were raging in Hong Kong, against increasingly autocratic Chinese influence. Morey tweeted in support of the protestors, a move that drew the attention—and anger—of the Chinese government.
Morey quickly deleted the tweet. The NBA is very popular in China and attracts a significant stream of revenue from the country, but the Chinese government was so incensed by the Morey tweet that it severely limited access to NBA games and cut off the Rockets altogether.
The fracas cost the NBA and its players around $150 million according to some estimates and even more according to others.
There is precedent, then. Morey is a regularly accessible GM at most times. But with Twitter, he may be a bit too accessible.