76ers Summer Free Agency Signings Under Investigation
The Philadelphia 76ers had an amazing summer free agency signing list, but now that is all under investigation per ESPN. The NBA has grounds to investigate the team and their acquisitions of James Harden, P.J. Tucker, and Danuel House due to early contact being initiated before the beginning date of free agency. Teams had to wait until 6pm ET on June 30, the official start of free agency.
One piece of the investigation centers on Harden’s decision to take a pay cut on a new two-year $68 million dollar deal instead of taking a $47 million dollar player option for 2022-23. Rumors among the league are circulating that there was a handshake deal in place between Harden and the 76ers on a future contract, which would be a violation of the NBA’s collective bargaining rules.
Tucker signed a three-year $30 Million contract, which is considered a full mid-level exception. House signed a two-year bi-annual exception $8.4 Million contract. The Sixers were able to do these due to Harden declining his initial option.
The NBA has set stricter punishments in motion for teams who violate the collective bargaining rules. In 2019, the NBA added harsher punishments such as suspending team executives, raising the maximum fine to $10 million, voiding contracts, and mandatory forfeiture of draft picks. In 2021 the Milwaukee Bucks were found guilty of tampering with Sacramento Kings’ free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic. In result, they were forced to forfeit their 2022 second-round pick and they lost signing rights to Bogdanovic.
Daryl Morey, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations has been cooperating with the investigation and has been answering questions from team attorneys. The NBA expects the 76ers to turn over evidence such as phone records and electronic correspondence to attorneys. Interviews of team personnel will also take place.
NBA.com has more HERE.