Doc Rivers doesn’t seem overly concerned about the NBA’s investigation into interference with the Philadelphia 76ers.
He said the league’s claims that the 76ers had early contact before signing PJ Tucker, Danuel House and re-signing James Harden were “not true” because Rivers and basketball team president Daryl Morey “didn’t suspected” that Harden would withdraw. his contract prior to free agency.
“…Firstly, we did not know what we would do with the money we received [when Harden opted out of his $47 million player option]” Rivers said. ESPN The VC Show August 2.. “And look, James also won because James could have opted for a one-year contract. Instead, we gave him three years. So both sides have won in many ways. James got it.
“I guarantee you that Daryl Morey had no idea what James was going to do,” Rivers added. “I remember talking to him the day before James had a choice or no and he said, ‘We have five hours left. I mean, it was Daryl Morey, so it goes to show that he had no idea… I really believed that James was not going to agree, that he would try to make a long-term deal. you know, I can tell you that. That’s for sure.
The crux of the rigging allegations stemmed from Harden’s decision to become a free agent instead of receiving a $47 million salary, which likely gave Philadelphia the opportunity to sign Tucker and House. While Rivers said Maury was unaware that Harden would back out of his deal, Harden reportedly told Maury to “improve the roster, sign the ones we need to sign and give me everything that’s left” after the 2021 season ended. -22 according to Sportzshala. Athlete Chris Haynes. This conversation contradicts Rivers’ opinion.
The timing of the Tucker and House deals is also suspicious. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported on the fraud investigation on July 29, suggested that some believe The 76ers already had deals in place for both players before Harden officially pulled out. Minutes after the legal intervention period began on June 30 at 6:01 pm ET, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that both Tucker as well as House signed with Philadelphia. Rumors that Tucker will sign with the 76ers distributed before June 30.
Meanwhile, Rivers just thinks his opponents are upset that Tucker, House and Harden lost.
“You have 29 competitors against you,” Rivers said. “There is no doubt that some teams – especially, probably, [teams] from which we took the players – they are like: “This is not fair.” Here’s how it works. I understand; I was on it. When I was with the Clippers, we got Kawai. [Leonard]. Yes, the whole league was around us about it. So that’s just how it works, but it’s a competition.”
Whatever the case, the investigation continues.
Possible punishments for 76ers
If the NBA concludes that the 76ers did interfere, the punishment could vary, especially after the league announced stricter hack protection rules and subsequent penalties in 2019.
Morey and the 76ers have already been slapped once before: The NBA fined him and the team $75,000 in 2021 for tweeting about Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry. Maury more or less told Curry to “join” his brother Seth Curry in Philadelphia.
It is not yet clear how the league will react to those who break the rules twice.
More recently, the NBA also chose a future second-round pick from both the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls in 2021 for violating “early contract” rules on signing and trade deals for Kyle Lowry (at the Heat) and Lonzo Ball (to the Bulls.) The league also stripped the Milwaukee Bucks of a 2022 second-round pick in 2021 for a communication violation with restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovich in 2020.
It is also not uncommon for a team to be penalized for interfering with their own player’s behaviour. The Milwaukee Bucks were fined $50,000 in 2019 for talking about re-signing Giannis Antetokounmpo before he became a free agent.
The NBA also imposed significant team penalties. The Los Angeles Lakers were fined $500,000 for talking to then-free agent Paul George in 2017, while the Minnesota Timberwolves lost $3.5 million and five first round picks after signing Joe Smith to a secret deal much bigger than the one they reported to the NBA.
The Knicks are also under investigation for fraud.
The 76ers aren’t the only team under the NBA microscope this offseason.
The league is also investigating the New York Knicks after they signed defenseman Jalen Brunson to a four-year, $104 million contract early in free agency, Haynes said.
Reports of the Knicks’ interest in Brunson circulated before the end of the season after team front office staff attended Dallas Mavericks playoff game against the Utah Jazz. nix also hired Brunson’s father as assistant coach in June.