The Philadelphia 76ers are under investigation by the NBA for possible tampering with offseason free agency moves involving James Harden, PJ Tucker and Danuel House, a person told The Associated Press Friday night. familiar with the situation.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity as the investigation is ongoing, said the team is cooperating with the investigation.
Harden signed a deal worth just over $68 million, paying him around $33 million this season with a $35 million player option for the 2023-24 season. Harden, however, will earn approximately $14.5 million less this coming season than he could have earned under his previous contract. Harden had a $47.4 million option for the upcoming season which he declined last month, saying he wanted to give the 76ers the chance to improve their roster and compete for a championship.
ESPN reported on Friday that there are questions involving Harden and the Sixers having “a handshake agreement in place over a future contract.”
“Taking less money this year to sign as many players as needed to help us fight and be the last team standing was very, very important to me,” Harden said in an interview this month with The Associated Press. . “I wanted to show the organization, the Sixers fans and everyone who supports what we’re trying to accomplish, what I’m trying to accomplish individually, that this is who I am.”
Tucker signed a three-year, $30 million deal and House signed for two-year, $8.4 million. The Sixers were able to sign Tucker for the mid-level full exception and sign House for the semi-annual exception because Harden declined his option.
Had Harden opted before his June 30 deadline, Philadelphia would have had a much harder time finding financial avenues to attract free agents.
The NBA approved tougher penalties for tampering in 2019 and stripped a draft pick from the Chicago Bulls for early contact with Lonzo Ball and the Miami Heat for doing the same with Kyle Lowry in the summer of 2021.
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