76ers' Daryl Morey Fined $50K by NBA for James Harden Tweet Amid Trade Rumors

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2020

FILE - This is a July 26, 2019, file photo showing Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey during an NBA basketball news conference, in Houston. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is stepping down on his own accord, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, because the move hasn’t been announced.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey $50,000 for a violation of its anti-tampering rule. 

Per the league's press release, Morey was fined "in response to a since-deleted social media post Morey made on Dec. 20 regarding the Houston Rockets' James Harden."

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com shared the since-deleted tweet:

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

This was the (since deleted) tweet that ultimately drew the fine for Morey. Pretty clearly an automated tweet but league is not messing around on tampering https://t.co/HXvgFqGmqr

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Morey was fined for an anniversary tweet on a past Harden accomplishment with Rockets that popped up on his twitter feed. He deleted it several minutes later. Morey told league it was an inadvertent post from an automated app, sources said. https://t.co/HJmJUED460

Regardless, the optics of the tweet didn't look great. Morey left the Rockets this offseason before joining the Sixers, and Philly is reportedly one of the teams Harden would be willing to join via trade. 

Ben Simmons has been the popular centerpiece that would go back to the Rockets in such a deal. But Morey said on Dec. 17 that the Sixers have no plans to trade the two-time All-Star:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

In response, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: “We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future.” https://t.co/W6T7HQjjoP

Nonetheless, the Sixers remain connected to Harden, if only via rumors. That, along with Morey's past working relationship with Harden, likely led to the steep fine by the NBA for an automated tweet that was quickly deleted. 

Harden, 31, has appeared in only one game this season after being fined $50,000 by the NBA for violating its COVID-19 protocols. He had been ruled ineligible for last Wednesday's matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder before that game was postponed because the Rockets didn't have enough players eligible to suit up. 

In Houston's lone game, Harden went off for 44 points and 17 assists in a 128-126 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.