Sixers lose 2nd-round draft picks in 23′ & 24′ following tampering investigation

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76ers, PJ Tucker
San Antonio Spurs guard Devin Vassell (24) and Philadelphia 76ers forward P.J. Tucker (17) reach for the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2022 – The NBA announced today that the Sixers will lose their second-round picks for the 2023 and 2024, following the league’s three-month investigation into tampering charges for the offseason signings of James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House Jr.

Shams Charania broke the news Monday afternoon that the investigation – which was opened on July 29 – found that the Sixers had unauthorized early free agency discussions prior to the allowed date of June 30, 2022. The NBA released the following statement:

The investigation began following ten-time All-Star James Harden’s decision to decline his $47.4 million player option for this season, instead opting for a two-year, $68 million contract. Harden’s decision resulted in a nearly $15 million pay cut for this season, arousing suspicions that Harden and the team were already in talks for his next contract.

While the team was cleared of any wrongdoing with Harden, the free agency additions of Tucker (three years, $30 million) and House (two years, $8.4 million) that were made possible by the pay cut were determined to be the result of unauthorized early discussions with the players. 

Following the announcement, the Sixers released the following statement:

The penalties are reflective of a growing trend of the NBA’s increasing enforcement of tampering and free agency regulations. In the last two years, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat, and the Chicago Bulls have all had picks rescinded following tampering charges surrounding Bogdan Bogdanović, Kyle Lowry, and Lonzo Ball, respectively. 

The loss of future picks could potentially lead the Sixers to pursue trade offers to replace their draft stock, especially as it gets closer to the deadline. Additionally, with the team picking up Jaden Springer’s option, the team may look to further incorporate some of their youngest players towards the end of the rotation.