Report: Sixers to Pay Pelicans $3 Million for Breaking NBA Rules

The Sixers didn't disclose Jrue Holiday's stress fractures before trading him to New Orleans in 2013, the Inquirer reports.

sixers-logoThe Sixers hired Sam Hinkie in May 2013, but The Process really didn’t start until the NBA Draft the next month. That night, Hinkie traded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans. At the time, it came as a shock: Holiday was expected to be the team’s point guard for years.

The haul, it turned out, was pretty good: The Sixers got the sixth pick that season (Nerlens Noel) and another first rounder in 2014. The Sixers turned that first-rounder into Dario Saric, two second-round picks and also got the Orlando Magic to waive the pick the Sixers owed them sometime in the future. Jrue Holiday has played just 74 games over two seasons in New Orleans, missing time in both seasons due to stress fractures in his legs. He had surgery in 2014.

The Inquirer reports Holiday first suffered stress fractures in his last season in Philadelphia, and that the Sixers have to pay $3 million to New Orleans for failing to disclose the injury. A Sixers team source disputed the report. The paper’s Keith Pompey also said the Sixers were looking to get compensation from the Lakers over the Andrew Bynum trade.

Per NBA rules, teams must be up front in trades about players’ health, and discuss any injury history on the trade call with the league office.

Derek Bodner noted Holiday’s struggles in the second half of the 2012-13 season, one where he made the All-Star team but looked tired down the stretch on a 34-win team. Some Sixers have begun bashing Holiday’s skills since he left town, but he has been very good while on the court in New Orleans. He just hasn’t been on the court that much.

Some people are very angry about this. The managing editor of SB Nation’s Pelicans blog, The Bird Writes, says the Sixers owe the Pelicans the entire haul from the Holiday trade. (Another writer is more optimistic for Holiday’s future.)

It’s not clear why the Pelicans didn’t notice Holiday’s stress fractures during a physical. League rules also state the max penalty for this infraction is $1 million. Bodner guesses the Sixers may have agreed to the higher fine to avoid forfeiting picks. The Timberwolves paid $3.5 million for breaking the rules with Joe Smith, the biggest fine in NBA history. Minnesota also forfeited five first-rounders for their malfeasance.