The NBA is reportedly investigating the Sixers for possible tampering and early contact regarding the team’s offseason free-agent signings of James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr., Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
Harden opting out of his $47 million option and signing at a lower number is at the center of the investigation. The move gave the Sixers the chance to sign both P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr.
NBA's expected to pursue circumstances surrounding Harden declining $47M option to sign a 1+1 deal that cut salary to $33M and gave team more flexibility to sign Tucker and House. Some have wondered if another deal was already in place for future — which is against CBA rules.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 29, 2022
Harden signed a two-year, $68 million deal, with a player option after the 2022-23 season. Harden will be able to opt out again and negotiate another lucrative deal next offseason with the Sixers or any other team.
According to Woj, the league is investigating whether the sides have already reached a handshake agreement on that future contract. Tucker signed a three-year, $30 million deal while House signed for two years and $8.4 million.
The league has become more aggressive in hunting tampering since 2019. The league raised the maximum team fine for tampering to $10 million, to go with a $6 million fine for improper deals and a $5 million fine for comments enticing other teams’ players.
The team can also be stripped of draft picks, have executives involved in the deal suspended, and, in some cases, have contracts voided. The largest fine imposed upon a team for tampering belongs to the Lakers when they got $500,000 in 2017 for communications centered around Paul George.