Warriors owner Joe Lacob fined $50K for saying he doesn't want to trade for Ben Simmons

·3 min read

Joe Lacob, the owner of the Golden State Warriors, was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Wednesday.

Lacob's offense? He said he doesn't want to trade for Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, which is apparently tampering in the eyes of the league despite the comments almost assuredly hurting the Warriors' chances of ever landing the All-Star.

The comments that got Lacob in hot water with the league came in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle published Tuesday, in which Lacob addressed the growing trade speculation around Simmons.

Simmons reportedly doubled down on his trade request with the Sixers, deciding not to report to the team's training camp with the intention of never playing another game for the franchise. The Warriors have been one of the teams bandied about as a potential trade candidate for Simmons, something Lacob decided to address with the Chronicle.

The Chronicle's interview introduces Lacob with this paragraph, with the very funny assertion that Lacob is being careful to avoid a tampering fine:

In an interview with The Chronicle on Tuesday, Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in reference to a “Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Philadelphia” while being careful not to get fined for tampering: “I think we are always looking at everything to see if we can improve our team. We would always look.”

The comment that made headlines came later, when Lacob threw as much cold water on the possibility of a Simmons trade as he could without being outright mean:

“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. “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.”

"Can he finish games? I don't know," is a decent summation of how Simmons ended up in this position in the first place, as his offensive limitations are infamous among even casual NBA fans at this point. He's one of the best defenders in the league and a strong playmaker, but teams simply don't have to worry about him shooting outside the paint or reaching the free throw line when he's on the floor. The Sixers know this, but unfortunately so do the teams they're trying to trade him to.

Lacob pointing all this out will almost assuredly cross the Warriors off Simmons' list of preferred destinations, if they were ever there in the first place, but that didn't save the owner from a fine. The league's anti-tampering rule forbids pretty much any public statement by a team official regarding a player under contract with another team. It doesn't matter if that statement is negative.

While that's happening out west, the Sixers will continue to hope either Simmons changes his mind or someone, anyone, meets or even comes close to their asking price for Simmons. The Chronicle reports Philadelphia wants a frontline player as well as "four or five first-round picks," with the requisite matching salary.

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