The NBA is investigating the Philadelphia 76ers for potential tampering regarding the signings of James Harden, P.J. Tucker, and Danuel House Jr.
However, Coach Doc Rivers insists the team committed no sort of infraction. Rivers spoke with Vince Carter on ESPN’s “The VC Show” and addressed how he’s handling the allegations.
“You handle it because it’s not true,” Rivers said. “Honestly, when James [Harden] did this and said this — first of all, we didn’t know what we were going to do with the money we were getting. And listen, James won, too, because James could’ve opted into a one-year deal. Instead, we gave him three years. And so both parties won in a lot of ways. Listen, it worked out for us; it worked out for James.”
The League began investigating the Sixers after Harden took a pay cut to seemingly create salary cap space for Tucker and House Jr. Harden opted out of his $47.4 million player option and re-signed with Philadelphia on a two-year $68.6 million deal.
By re-structuring Harden’s deal, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was able to bring in Tucker and House Jr., both of whom played with Harden when Morey held the same position with the small-ball Houston Rockets.
Rivers claims Morey did not know what Harden’s status was regarding a new contract and never engaged in illegal talks with the 10-time All-Star.
“I guarantee you Daryl Morey had no idea what James was going to do,” Rivers said. “I remember talking to him on the eve of when James could opt in or out, and he was like, ‘We’ve got five hours left.’ I mean, that was Daryl Morey, so that tells you he had no idea — I really believed that James was not going to opt-in, that he was going to try to do a longer-term deal. But I didn’t know; I can tell you that. That’s for sure.”
The League seems to be cracking down on tampering, as it is also investigating the New York Knicks for the same violation in the signing of former Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson.
The NBA’s investigation of the 76ers will likely conclude in the coming weeks, so only time will tell if Philadelphia will be penalized or not.
Photos via Getty Images.