Per the league, the 76ers violated league rules by having discussions with Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker prior to the open of free agency last offseason. Tucker and House signed with the 76ers as free agents. They both played with 76ers guard James Harden when he was a league MVP with the Houston Rockets. They also had established relationships with 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey from his time as Houston's general manager.
This is not Morey's first foray into tampering penalties. The NBA fined Morey and the 76ers $75,000 each in 2021 after Morey tweeted about Stephen Curry before the Warriors star signed a $215M extension to remain in Golden State. In 2020, the NBA fined Morey $50,000 for a tweet about James Harden when he was still a member of the Rockets. The Rockets traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in 2021. He joined the 76ers via trade from Brooklyn last season.
Teams and their representatives are prohibited from discussing players under contract with other teams in a manner that can be construed as tampering. There were no tweets this time, but the NBA deemed that Morey's 76ers had prohibited contact with House and Tucker prior to the official start of free agency.
While a violation of league rules, it is widely believed that NBA teams regularly have discussions with pending free agents prior to the start of free agency. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday after the league announced the 76ers penalty that the NBA and NBPA are planning to discuss potential changes to tampering rules, whose rampant violations are an open secret.