Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden received a lot of credit for taking a massive pay cut this offseason. However, it's possible that tampering took place before he agreed to a two-year deal with the team.
Harden ultimately declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. Instead, he signed a two-year, $68 million contract.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the league is wondering if a handshake agreement is in place for a future contract involving Harden and the 76ers. If so, that would violate the NBA's collective bargaining rules.
As a result, the NBA has opened an investigation into the 76ers' handling of its 2022 free agency class.
76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has already fielded some questions from NBA attorneys.
In the past, the NBA has stripped teams of their second-round picks for similar situations. If the 76ers did violate the league's collective bargaining rules, they'd probably suffer the same fate.
The 76ers used the money that Harden passed up to add P.J. Tucker and Danuel House to their roster.