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#pounditSunday, September 25, 2022

Report: NBA expected to investigate 1 offseason signing

PJ Tucker looking on

Dec 21, 2019; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (17) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Just minutes into the NBA offseason free agency period, agent Andre Buck announced that PJ Tucker had signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The three-year, $33 million deal was agreed upon so swiftly that it raised a few eyebrows. One of those eyebrows belonged to the league office, who will now consider investigating the Sixers for tampering.

“I’m told that Philadelphia’s signing of P.J. Tucker is also likely to be placed under the investigation microscope by the league office. Tucker, of course, was signed away from the Miami Heat, who were docked a second-round pick as a penalty for “early free agency discussions” connected to their sign-and-trade acquisition of Kyle Lowry last summer,” Marc Stein reported via his substack.

The 37-year-old Tucker had already been linked to Philly because of his ties to James Harden and Daryl Morey, who all spent time together in Houston. And for Morey, it’s not the first time he’s been accused of (or disciplined for) tampering.

Although an official investigation has not yet been launched, it would be true to form for the NBA. They’ve been much stricter about tampering of late and have dolled out quite a bit of punishment for the violation. The Milwaukee Bucks (Bogdan Bogdanović), Miami Heat (Kyle Lowry) and Chicago Bulls (Lonzo Ball) have all been docked second-round picks in recent years.

If and when the NBA does launch their investigation, it may take months to reach a conclusion. In addition to lost draft picks, a potential consequence is having Tucker’s contract terminated all together — although that seems far less likely.

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