NBA takes away two Sixers second-round picks after investigation


WASHINGTON — The NBA has docked the Sixers their second-round picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts after an investigation found the team had premature discussions with free-agent signings Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker. 

The league announced the penalty “reflected findings, following an investigation, that the 76ers engaged in free agency discussions … prior to the date when such discussions were permitted.”

In response, the team released the following statement: “The Philadelphia 76ers fully cooperated with the NBA’s investigation and acknowledge the league’s ruling. We’re moving forward, focused on the season ahead.”

Minutes after 6 p.m. on June 30, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia that the team was expected to finalize a three-year, $33.2 million contract with Tucker, and that House had a two-year, $8.5 million agreement. 

While those were not the only two deals in the NBA reported very soon after discussions were officially allowed to begin, the Sixers’ moves were under scrutiny when James Harden declined his player option and ultimately signed a new deal that made adding former teammates Tucker and House possible. By inking a two-year, $68.6 million contract with a player option for next season, Harden enabled the Sixers to pick up Tucker for the full mid-level exception and House for the bi-annual exception while remaining under the luxury-tax apron. 

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was reluctant to reveal much about Harden’s situation on draft night, which was approximately a week prior to free agency. 

“Well, we can’t talk yet,” Morey said. “I would expect … actually, I don’t know. We’ll have conversations with him. As you guys have heard, it’s a mutual lovefest, so we feel like we’ll work it out.”

The Sixers traded away their 2022 first-round pick in a deal for De’Anthony Melton. Because of the team’s February trade for Harden, they no longer own a 2023 first-rounder. 

However, as things stand, the Sixers are not without a selection in next year’s draft.  As a result of a 2019 draft-night trade, they’ll own the best second-round pick among the Hawks, Hornets and Nets. 

Regardless of the investigation’s outcome, the Sixers were always bound to be a present-focused team with Joel Embiid (28 years old), Tobias Harris (30), Harden (33) and Tucker (37) among their notable veterans.

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