NBA investigating 76 people for possible tampering with James Harden, PJ Tucker signings, per report

The NBA has opened an investigation into possible tampering with the Philadelphia 76ers regarding the team’s offseason free agent signings of James Harden, PJ Tucker and Daniel House Jr. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Harden’s decision to decline his $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season and re-sign at a lower number is at the center of the investigation because it gave the Sixers the cap space needed to sign Tucker and House. .

From Wojnarowski:

One of the central elements of the league’s investigation includes questions about Harden’s decision to decline a $47.4 million player option for 2022-23 and take a pay cut on a new two-year, $68 million contract, sources said. are Around the league, there are questions about whether a future contract already has a handshake agreement — which would be a violation of collective bargaining laws.

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has already begun answering questions from the league’s lawyers, sources said. The investigation is expected to include interviews with team officials and the organization providing electronic correspondence and phone records to league investigators. Teams were not allowed to negotiate free agency deals with agents or players before free agency opened on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET.

If the Sixers are ultimately found guilty of tampering, they could face penalties including fines, loss of draft picks, or suspension of executives. Last year the league traded second-round picks to the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat for free agents Lonzo Ball and Kyle Lowry. Perhaps a similar punishment is on the horizon for Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s interest in Tucker, in particular, was reported weeks before the start of free agency. Sixers center Joel Embiid even mentioned Tucker by name when he talked about the type of player the Sixers needed to add after Tucker’s hat-trick in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May.

“You look at somebody like PJ Tucker. Great player, but it’s not about knocking down his shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball. to bound,” Ambid said. “You see, obviously, defensively, he plays with so much energy, he believes he can get from point A to point B, and he believes nobody can beat him. And he’s tough. He’s just physical, and he’s tough.”

The Sixers got Embiid the guy he wanted, but it could end up costing the team. The results of the PML-N’s investigation should come out in the coming weeks.