NBA investigating Sixers free agency moves for tampering
The NBA is investigating SixersFree agency is moving for possible tampering and “early contact,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
As Wojnarowski details, James Harden declined his $47.4 million player option and instead took a pay cut by signing a two-year, $68.6 million contract with a second-year player option. It gave the Sixers the chance to use their entire mid-level exception to sign P.J. Tucker and their half-yearly exception to sign Daniel House – two of Harden’s former teammates with the Rockets under the chairmanship of basketball operations Daryl Moreywho is now with Philadelphia.
Marc Stein first reported that the Sixers were likely to be investigated for tampering, and he was also one of the first reporters to link Tucker to Philadelphia, with rival teams apparently convinced that Tucker signed a three-year contract for the mid-tier multiple. days before the official opening of free agency.
Some in the league have questioned whether the Sixers and Harden already have a future deal in place, which is against collective bargaining rules, Wojnarowski notes. Such a handshake deal would involve declining his player option in 2023 and signing a lucrative new contract.
The Sixers are complying with the investigation, Wojnarowski adds. The Knicks are also likely to face a tampering investigation due to an early free agency deal with the guard. Jalen Brunsonas Fred Katz of The Athletic relayed it last week.
The heat (Kyle Lowry sign and trade last summer) and Bucks (Bogdan Bogdanovic deal that fell through in 2020) both lost their 2022 second-round picks following previous tampering investigations, and the Bulls will lose their 2023 second-round picks for their early signing and trade deal for Lonzo Ball in 2021.