The Philadelphia 76ers have been fined $25,000 for breaches of the league’s reporting protocol.
The issue surrounds the listing of All-Star Ben Simmons on the injury report, before the Sixers tipped off against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday afternoon.
After Seth Curry found out he had tested positive to Covid-19, the NBA’s extensive contact tracing meant the Sixers were left with a gutted roster, and a rookie-laden starting five that battled hard, but eventually fell to Nikola Jokic and Denver.
Joel Embiid also missed the game, with reported back tightness, however Simmons’ last minute injury status raised eyebrows in the league’s front office.
It is reported that Simmons left New York after the 76ers Thursday night loss to the Brooklyn Nets, returning to Philadelphia with a private driver. Whilst he did that, however, the remainder of the team decided to stay in New York for an extra night, allowing the contact tracers and medical teams easier access to the entire team in one place.
The next morning, when the rosters were released for the Denver hit-out, Simmons was listed on the injury list, citing a knee injury – an ailment that hadn’t been mentioned at any point leading up to the morning.
Whether it was blatant bending of the rules, a Simmons-led backlash against the league for forcing an under-manned Sixers roster to take the floor, or a combination of both – the Sixers will now be hit in their back pocket, and be placed on notice that the league is always watching.
Simmons, meanwhile, is not playing today against the Atlanta Hawks, and is listed as day-to-day.