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At the start of the 2022 free agency period, the Philadelphia 76ers quickly came to terms on a three-year contract with the veteran forward, P.J. Tucker. At the time, the signing was far from surprising, considering Tucker was linked to the Sixers for weeks leading up to free agency.

Since Tucker signed so fast as expected, there was speculation around the league that tampering was involved. Many reports indicated that the Sixers were expected to be investigated for tampering after the Tucker signing.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the investigation has officially begun. On Friday night, Wojnarowski reported that Sixers President Daryl Morey has already started answering questions from league attorneys regarding the Tucker signing.

However, landing Tucker in the opening minutes of free agency isn’t the only topic the NBA is focused on. In addition, the NBA is reviewing possible tampering with Philly’s other notable signee Danuel House and will look into the James Harden signing, which happened weeks after free agency opened.

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Last weekend, NBA reporter Marc Stein mentioned that there is some suspicion around the league that Harden secured a “wink-wink” contract for the future from the Sixers. As the star guard recently declined his $47 million player option to take a two-year deal worth $68 million, league personnel suspect that Harden might have a better deal on the table for the future.

On Friday, Wojnarowski reported that will be one of the “central elements” in the investigation. “Around the league, there have been questions about whether there is already a handshake agreement in place on a future contract,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Which would be in violation of collective bargaining rules.”

It’s unclear how severe of a punishment the Sixers are currently facing. Last year, the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls faced similar situations. Following the investigations, both teams lost a second-round pick. Considering the Sixers are being reviewed for three different instances of possible tampering, losing a second-rounder might be the best-case scenario if they are punished at all. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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