Commissioner Adam Silver came down hard on the Philadelphia 76ers for violating the league’s tampering rules. The NBA put out a statement saying the Sixers would be docked a 2023 second-rounder and a 2024 second-rounder following a lengthy investigation into their offseason moves.
The point of contention revolved around free-agent acquisitions P.J. Tucker and Danuel House. The league concluded that the Sixers did engage in contract talks with both players “prior to the date when such discussions were permitted.” Philadelphia was credited for “full cooperation” with the investigation. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls suffered similar punishments last year for the way they courted Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball in free agency.
Interestingly, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the NBA found “no wrongdoing” in James Harden’s semi-controversial decision to take an almost $15 million paycut. The optics of the Harden discount had raised eyebrows, especially since the guys in question were Harden’s friends and former teammates.
Montrezl Harrell – one of those guys who played with Harden in Houston – made a tampering joke during Sixers Media Day. The backup big man also has a long-standing relationship with Doc Rivers from their days together on the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, man,” Harrell told reporters on September 26. “I think that’s called tampering. Ain’t that a rule or something like that? I don’t have no clue, man. I really have no clue. But it’s good to be back in a situation with familiar guys that I’m used to.”
Joel Embiid Sidelined with Non-COVID Illness
Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid missed Monday night’s game with a non-COVID illness. He missed the morning shootaround, then the team listed him out about 90 minutes prior to tip-off against the Washington Wizards.
Embiid was out on Friday against Toronto due to “right knee injury management” but this absence isn’t related to that. The Big Fella has also been learning how to navigate two off-season surgeries on his hand.
“You still think about it, especially when it comes to boxing out,” Embiid said on October 24. “I’m still not comfortable using my hands and my fingers because I think that’s how I got hurt in the first place. My finger getting caught on somebody. So, I’ve still got to get comfortable with that.”
Head coach Doc Rivers went with a small-ball lineup against Washington with Embiid out. P.J. Tucker started at center, with De’Anthony Melton, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris. It’s a combination that has played with a lot of energy and spark.
Phillies Game Postponed, Sixers Return Home
The Sixers will return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night after a four-game road trip. They will do so to a hectic scene at the sports complex in South Philly, too. The Phillies will be hosting the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the World Series on November 2 at nearby Citizens Bank Park. One night prior, Sixers legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 3 which was rescheduled for Tuesday, November 1. Rain postponed the World Series.