The NBA fined Brooklyn Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai $35,000 on Monday for making a public statement that was deemed detrimental to the league, commissioner Adam Silver said.
On Sunday night, Tsai offered support for Nets general manager Sean Marks on Twitter after Marks was suspended one game without pay and fined $25,000 for entering the referees' locker room after the Nets' Game 4 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
My partners and I have spoken and the entire Nets ownership group support our GM Sean Marks for protesting the wrong calls and missed calls. NBA rules are rules and we respect that, but our players and fans expect things to be fair.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) April 22, 2019
In a statement issued by Silver, the NBA noted that Tsai's comments criticized the integrity of officiating.
The Nets and Marks believed Joel Embiid's flagrant 1s in the first-round series against Philadelphia should have been deemed flagrant 2s, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. More than sending a message to the league by challenging the referees, Marks intended to send a message to his team that the franchise is determined to support the way the players are competing in the series, the source told Wojnarowski.
Nets players on Monday expressed appreciation for Marks and Tsai's actions.
"It shows we're all one organization -- we're not separated in different parts," Jarrett Allen said. "We're all together as one."
Added D'Angelo Russell: "Right is right, and wrong is wrong. In this situation where you feel like Sean had to step up, and (Nets coach) Kenny (Atkinson) had to step up and say things like that -- speak on it -- lets you know what's right and what's wrong. Simple as that. However you guys view it, whatever you guys saw or thought was necessary, I thought we handled it the best way we could."
The Nets lost 112-108 on Saturday in a game in which Brooklyn's Jared Dudley and Philadelphia's Jimmy Butler were ejected after a scuffle broke out following Embiid's flagrant foul against Allen in the third quarter. It was Embiid's second flagrant 1 in the series.
The call will remain a flagrant foul 1, sources told ESPN's Tim Bontemps, which means Embiid will remain with two flagrant foul points for the postseason. If a player reaches four, he earns an automatic one-game suspension.
Embiid's flagrant fouls weren't the only issues on which the Nets disagreed with referees. Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson also said after Game 4 that he thought the 76ers held Allen before he turned the ball over on the Nets' last chance to tie the game.
The league confirmed Atkinson's stance on Sunday when it stated in its "Last Two Minute Report" that Sixers forward Tobias Harris grabbed Allen, preventing him from rolling from his screen and releasing to the basket sooner.
If Harris hadn't grabbed Allen, he might've had enough time to dunk the ball and tie the game.
On Monday, Atkinson stated emphatically that he didn't believe Brooklyn lost because of that missed call.
"The Nets lost because we weren't good enough, quite honestly," the coach said. "We weren't good enough. We didn't make the plays. We didn't make the shots. We didn't execute. There were many things. I don't look at that; (Sunday,) when I really reflected on our loss. I didn't think about that play."
Game 5 of the Sixers-Nets series is in Philadelphia on Tuesday.