The Philadelphia 76ers will have their second-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 NBA drafts taken away from them as a result of violating free agency rules by having early discussions with forwards P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr, the NBA announced Monday afternoon.
In its announcement, the league said the draft picks were taken away because the 76ers engaged in discussions with both players “prior to the date when such discussions were permitted.”
“The Philadelphia 76ers fully cooperated with the NBA’s investigation and acknowledge the league’s ruling,” the team said in a statement in the wake of the league’s announcement of the punishment. “We’re moving forward, focused on the season ahead.”
Philadelphia will still have a second-round pick in the 2023 NBA draft, as the 76ers will receive the most favorable pick of the Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets or Charlotte Hornets as part of earlier trades.
The league had been investigating the 76ers since the summer, when Philadelphia signed Tucker with its midlevel exception and House with its biannual exception — moves made possible after James Harden took a significant pay cut of roughly $15 million after turning down his player option for the 2022-23 season and re-signing with the franchise that traded for him back in February.
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that a similar investigation into the New York Knicks signing guard Jalen Brunson away from the Dallas Mavericks was still ongoing.
Sources also told Wojnarowski that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are expected to discuss the rules governing punishments for teams for having discussions with player agents about pending free agents ahead of the start of free agency.
Even with the ongoing investigation into the Knicks aside, Philadelphia becomes the fourth team in the past two years to be hit with a punishment for some violation of these rules, joining the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.
Milwaukee lost a second-round pick over an attempt to complete a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic, while the Heat and Bulls each lost a second-round pick because of early discussions about sign-and-trade deals that were ultimately completed for Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball, respectively.