This off season James Harden abandoned his $47.4 million contract with the 76ers, who then used the ceiling space he created to sign PJ Tucker to a three-year, mid-range exclusion contract (one minute free agent) and to sign House of Danuel. Harden then re-signed in Philadelphia for “what’s left” of the space the 76ers had under a hard cap of $33 million this season. It was taken by some in the league as a “wink” deal that saw Harden get a big paycheck next summer.
As expected, the NBA is investigating the 76ers for fraud. reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The NBA has launched an investigation into the Philadelphia 76ers for possible interference and early contact with the franchise’s summer free-agent class James Harden, PJ Tucker and Danuel House, sources told ESPN on Friday.
One of the centerpieces of the league’s investigation includes questions about Harden’s decision to forego the $47.4 million player option for 2022-2023 and take a pay cut on a new $68 million two-year contract, sources said… Sixers President on basketball operations Daryl Morey has already begun answering questions from league lawyers, sources said.
Did the 76ers interfere with Tucker? Probably. By the letter of the law.
The more important question, however, is where will the NBA draw the line on rigging? ‘Cause that’s how it is WIDESPREAD and everyone knows and does it — and the NBA capitalizes on the social media hype that dominates the sports scene, with numerous deals being announced minutes after the official opening of free agency. Either the NBA needs to seriously fight fraud, or stop pretending it will.
And good luck actually dealing with him. In the first hour of free agency alone, dozens of new contracts were announced.
Maybe the 76ers will get a slap in the face. This is what other teams are betting on – Milwaukee and Chicago were punished for fraud a year ago, and it cost them a late second-round pick (a spot in the draft when, historically, this player has never set foot on an NBA court). The teams shrugged.
Philadelphia bolstered their bench and got much better thanks to Harden pulling out and then signing Tucker and House (and trading them for De’Anthony Melton). Teams will receive a small penalty if they improve and get close to the title, as the 76ers seem to have done.