The NBA announced Monday afternoon that the Philadelphia 76ers will be stripped of their second-round picks in 2023 and 2024 due to violating the league's tampering rules. This concludes an investigation that began in July, where it was reported that the league would of James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr.
Per the league's statement:
"The rescindment of two draft picks reflected findings, following an investigation, that the 76ers engaged in free agency discussions involving two players (P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, Jr.) prior to the date when such discussions were permitted. The team fully cooperated with the investigation."
Philadelphia's interest in Tucker was reported weeks ahead of the league's free agency period, suggesting that discussions between the two parties had begun prior to free agency starting. With the Sixers losing two draft picks, that means the league found enough evidence to support that claim. Interestingly enough, the league found no wrongdoing in Harden taking a $15 million pay cut to re-sign with Philadelphia, which helped the Sixers sign both Tucker and House, per The Athletic.
The Sixers join several teams in the last few years that have been docked second-round picks for tampering during the offseason. The Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat were each stripped of second-round picks for tampering regarding free agents Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry.
It's clear the league wants to send a message as it pertains to tampering, however, with second-round picks holding little value, the punishment isn't a big enough deterrent to stop teams from doing it. The league and the players union are expected to revisit the rules around tampering and the punishment attached to it, per Adrian Wojnarowski, but given that it's pretty commonplace in the league the likelihood of eliminating it altogether is low.