Generally, the talk of the NBA offseason is focused on trades, player movement, new possibilities and missed opportunities from the season prior. Yet this summer, the conversation shifted into a more uncomfortable light — and not for the right reasons. During the 2022 offseason, the NBA faced significant challenges with its public image due to the actions of its players, coaches, governors and everyone in between.
Since taking over as NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver has upheld a gold standard for the league’s public image through ups and downs. He stood with his players during a period of social unrest in light of George Floyd’s murder in the Summer of 2020. He’s been outspoken about giving his players a platform, giving back to underserved communities and making the NBA an equitable landscape for people from all backgrounds.
Yet the morals this league publically stood on came crumbling down this NBA offseason.
Personal Note from the Editor: None of these topics are meant to be glorified in any way. The point of this article is to highlight the irregularity of just how taboo, and in some instances, outright irrepressible some of the storylines of this NBA offseason became.
A timeline of scandalous happenings during the 2022 NBA Offseason.
- June 13, 2022: New Philadelphia 76ers center Montrezl Harrell is arrested with three lbs of marijuana and faced felony drug trafficking charges. It has since been reduced to a misdemeanor.
- June 30, 2022: Charlotte Hornets restricted free-agent Miles Bridges is arrested for felony domestic violence and child abuse charges for allegedly assaulting his partner with their children present. He remains unsigned as of the start of Training Camp.
- July 7, 2022: New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham is arrested for driving while impaired in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
- July 29, 2022: NBA launches tampering investigation into Philadelphia 76ers free-agent signings between James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
- Aug. 1, 2022: NBA launches tampering investigation into New York Knicks signing of free-agent guard Jalen Brunson.
- Aug. 7, 2022: Seattle hoops stars Dejounte Murray and Paolo Banchero have repeated confrontations on and off the court at former All-Star Isaiah Thomas’ Pro-Am Tournament.
- Aug. 26, 2022: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince was arrested in Miami on what ESPN described as a “fugitive out-of-state warrant.”
- Aug. 30: Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy stars in a tell-all documentary called “Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul” on Netflix.
- Sept. 2, 2022: Retired adult film star Lana Rhoades took to social media, blasting an unnamed NBA star who she claims to be the father of her child.
- Sept. 13, 2022: NBA releases findings of an investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and his rampant misconduct within the organization. The report from an independent law firm found dozens of accounts of verbal abuse, racism and misogyny from Sarver. The NBA initially gave him a one-year suspension and $10 million fine, but Sarver has since announced his intention to sell the Suns and Mercury franchises.
- Sept. 20, 2022: NBA Twitter had a field day with Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers on social media after his Twitter account was reportedly hacked, leaving likes on various forms of adult content for the timeline to consume.
- Sept. 20, 2022: NBA fines Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards for a social media post in which he used targeted, homophobic language.
- Sept. 21, 2022: ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka faces a season-long suspension for relations with a female staff member. The suspension became official on September 23. Subsequent reporting suggested that Udoka made inappropriate comments to the woman on several occasions.
There are sure to be some instances that slipped through the cracks, but needless to say, this was an active NBA offseason for the wrong reasons. Thankfully for the league, many of these issues are in the rearview mirror with a new season on the horizon. Though for the people directly impacted by many of these issues — particularly with respect to the Bridges, Udoka, Edwards and Sarver issues — the lasting impacts are far more real than a headline in a tabloid.
Let’s hope that the drama doesn’t continue into the start of the 2022-23 NBA season.