The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey $50,000 for a tampering tweet regarding Houston Rockets star James Harden.
Maybe it’s tampering to the NBA. Maybe it’s investing to Morey.
The NBA’s most prominent ongoing drama is Harden’s wish to leave Houston. A natural connection is Philadelphia, where his former Rockets boss now runs the 76ers. Harden reportedly has Houston, among others, on his wish list.
Morey made a legitimate case with ESPN that his inadvertent tweet came from an automated app. It was quote-tweeted from his Dec. 20, 2019, tweet, when he was the Houston general manager, and posted a graphic commemorating Harden setting the Rockets career assist record. The tweet reads “#onthisday, 1 year(s) ago – Twitter memories via onthisday.me”
Somebody’s sensitive at the league office. Morey worked in Houston from 2007 to 2020. But even with Morey deleting the tweet several minutes later, the timing was all wrong for the league’s anti-tampering rule, and imagine the Rockets executives skimming through their timeline and finding that. Rockets CEO Tad Brown apparently did, tweeting a pondering emoji with a raised eyebrow and hand on chin that night.
And Morey has history. His pro-Hong Kong tweet during the 2019 preseason caused China to sever sponsorship ties with the NBA. The league lost $400 million with games no longer broadcast in China. So $50,000 is a start on his retribution.
That just happens to be the same amount that Harden was fined recently for breaking the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. The 31-year-old has averaged 39.5 points and 12.5 assists in two losses this season. You can have that talent, along with all the baggage, but you have to find a trade that nearly matches his $33 million salary in returning players. That’s nine or 10 of the lowest-paid New York Knicks.