Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob has been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule, the league announced on Wednesday evening.
The punishment comes in the wake of comments that Lacob made about Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons earlier this week in a news article. The Warriors have been connected to the three-time All-Star in trade rumors, but the team owner’s latest remarks apparently crossed in a line in the eyes of the NBA.
“The NBA announced today that it has fined Golden State Warriors Governor Joe Lacob $50,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rule,” the league said in a statement. “The fine is in response to comments by Lacob in a September 21 new articles regarding the Philadelphia 76er’s Ben Simmons.”
The following has been announced by the NBA. pic.twitter.com/68zqEBB4LJ
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 22, 2021
Lacob made the comments about Simmons in a recent interview with Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, calling him the 76ers point guard the “Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Philadelphia.”
“In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know,” Lacob said, via Simmons. “He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”
It seems as though Lacob thought he could skirt around the NBA’s anti-tampering rule by not naming Simmons in the interview. The league clearly didn’t see it that way and slapped the Warriors owner with the $50,000 fine.
Golden State was once rumored to be a frontrunner to land Simmons give the franchise’s ability to make a competitive trade offer and mutual interest from the point guard. However, Lacob’s comments, although they landed him in hot water with the NBA, seem to imply that there’s one too many complications for the Warriors to strike a deal.
While Golden State backs off of a Simmons trade, a handful of teams have reportedly had discussions with the 76ers about acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick. According to Marc Stein, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors all have interest in whisking the three-time All-Star out of Philadelphia.