Philadelphia 76ers not facing tampering charges ‘at this time’, says NBA’s Adam Silver
CLEVELAND — NBA teams suspected the 76ers of tampering in their pursuit of James Harden before acquiring him from the Brooklyn Nets in a trade on Feb. 10.
“There is no ongoing investigation at this time,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday night.
Very few league executives — if any — were surprised the Sixers acquired Harden. The belief, however, was that it would come as a forced sign and trade this summer.
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The beliefs were based on Harden’s close relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, co-owner Michael Rubin and CEO Tad Brown. This is where the tampering issues arose.
NBA teams were concerned that Rubin would set up a forced summer S&T deal through side channels. Teams believed that was why the Sixers seemed content to wait until the offseason to deal with disgruntled point guard Ben Simmons.
People close to the Sixers denied that the team was standing firm for Harden or that they were concerned about possible tampering allegations.
Ultimately, Harden, who wanted to be traded to the Sixers, forced his way out of Brooklyn. This led to the Nets shipping him and Paul Millsap to the Sixers in exchange for Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks.
“I think in the league this so-called notion of player empowerment is not a new issue…” Silver said. “As I’ve said before, we want players and teams to honor contracts, so I think in this case you had two teams who seem ultimately happy with the outcome of the trade and voluntarily participated in it. .
The Commissioner acknowledged that improvements needed to be made to the system. He wants to strike a balance between players having a say in where they play while ensuring teams are able to stay competitive and have contracts honored.
Simmons declined to play for the Sixers this season despite being in the second year of a $177 million contract extension.
“Neither team has filed a formal complaint with the league,” Silver said. “These are things that we are watching unfold, unfortunately, in many cases, in the media.”
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He said the league would continue to review the situation, but there was “nothing immediate at this time.”
It was the second time in 14 months that Harden forced a trade. Returning on January 13, 2021, he forced a trade from the Houston Rockets to the Nets. Meanwhile, Simmons told the Sixers in August that he wanted to be traded and would not play for them this season.
“In the case of Ben Simmons, I can’t think of a change in the system that, insofar as [when] you have a player who is willing to sit and not get paid, which is the scenario we have right now,” Silver said. “I don’t want to speak for Ben, but that was the posture. We saw the case of a player saying: ‘I’m unhappy in town and I’m not going to play’. Then a team that says: ‘We don’t “We’re not going to pay you, and there’s going to be discipline. There was a standoff and eventually he was traded.
“I don’t want to pretend, standing here, that I have some secret idea that I know I can solve this problem.”