PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers are under investigation by the NBA for possible free agent offseason interference involving James Harden, PJ Tucker and Danuel House, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press Friday night.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity as the investigation continues, said the team is cooperating with the investigation.
Harden signed a contract worth just over $68 million, paying him around $33 million this season with a $35 million player option in 2023-24. Harden, however, will make about $14.5 million less this season than he could have earned from his previous deal. Harden had a $47.4 million option for the upcoming season, which he turned down last month, saying he wanted to give the 76ers the flexibility to improve their lineup and challenge for the championship.
On Friday, ESPN reported that there were questions regarding Harden and the 66ers having a “handshake agreement regarding a future contract.”
“It was very, very important to me to get less money this year to sign as many players as we need to help us fight and remain the last team,” Harden told The Associated Press this month. “I wanted to show the organizations, the Sixers fans and everyone else who supports what we’re trying to achieve, what I’m trying to achieve individually, that this is what I’m doing.”
Tucker signed a three-year, $30 million contract, while House signed a two-year, $8.4 million contract. The 66ers were able to sign Tucker to a full mid-level elimination and sign House to a two-year suspension because Harden turned down his option.
If Harden had agreed before the June 30 deadline, Philadelphia would have had a much harder time finding financial ways to bring in free agents.
The NBA approved tougher penalties for falsification in 2019 and stripped both 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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