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#pounditThursday, August 18, 2022

Articles tagged: Philadelphia 76ers

Report: Ben Simmons, 76ers reach settlement in contract dispute

Ben Simmons with a shirt on

Jan 30, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) talks to fans before a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons appears to have sorted a major outstanding issue with the Philadelphia 76ers stemming from his final season with the team.

Simmons and the 76ers have reached a settlement agreement regarding a grievance the player filed against the organization, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Simmons, now with the Brooklyn Nets, will recoup a portion of the $20 million in salary the Sixers withheld while he was not playing.

Simmons had filed his grievance against the 76ers in April, after he had been traded to Brooklyn. Philadelphia had refused to pay Simmons while he was not playing or practicing, arguing that the former No. 1 pick was in breach of his contract. Simmons argued that he was sitting out for mental health reasons. The Sixers countered by arguing they did not get the chance to assess Simmons’ mental health under the typical league-mandated protocols, and used that as a reason to continue fining him.

Even after being acquired by the Nets, Simmons did not play at all last season. He had initially ramped up to play in the playoffs, but dealt with a back injury that flared up during reconditioning. The 26-year-old is slated to make just over $35 million next season.

James Harden seemingly leaks 76ers’ Christmas Day game

James Harden dribbles

Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is set to release its regular season schedule next week, but a few leaks have trickled out ahead of time. One of those leaks appears to have come from none other than James Harden.

The Philadelphia 76ers guard seemingly revealed on Twitter that his team would be facing the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Christmas. Obviously, this is unconfirmed for now.

The NBA likes to put marquee games on its Christmas schedule, and putting two Atlantic Division hopefuls up against each other at Madison Square Garden certainly fits that bill. That alone makes Harden’s leak very plausible.

The Christmas Day leaks are coming quite often this season. One potential matchup went public on Saturday, and on Sunday, Harden’s reveal was not even the first one of the day. Harden is, however, the first to apparently leak his own game, so he stands out in that way.

Report: Kevin Durant has 2 preferred landing spots

Kevin Durant in street clothes

Feb 3, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Kevin Durant (7) smiles during a time out during the second quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As Kevin Durant ramps up his efforts to force a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, he may be eyeing two particular teams as potential landing spots.

The Boston Celtics are a “desired landing spot” of Durant’s, according to Ian Begley of SNY. Durant would also be interested in the Philadelphia 76ers, Begley says. Some members of the 76ers have pushed for the team to engage in trade talks, though no serious discussions have occurred.

The problem with a trade becomes the same one that has plagued Durant trade talks since the Nets star’s initial request. It would be very difficult for these teams to acquire Durant without trading away some of the players that make them appealing to Durant in the first place. Begley notes that Durant would like to play with Boston’s Marcus Smart, but some reports have suggested that the Nets have targeted Smart as part of a package in exchange for Durant.

On paper, the Nets and Celtics would seem to have the pieces and mutual interest in making a trade work. Such a trade might have to involve Jaylen Brown and Smart, which may ultimately be more than Boston is willing to do. If the price Brooklyn sets is too steep, it will not matter how badly Durant wants to play for the Celtics.

NBA investigating Eastern Conference team for tampering

Adam Silver speaking

Jun 2, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver talks to media before game one of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has opened an investigation into one team for allegedly tampering ahead of free agency.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA is investigating whether the Philadelphia 76ers had anything improper going on ahead of free agency.

The red flag for the league is that James Harden took less than market value, seemingly because he knew the team had reached agreements with PJ Tucker and Danuel House ahead of free agency.

Tucker and House are former Rockets teammates of Harden. The man who was in charge in Houston when that roster was assembled is Daryl Morey, who currently leads the 76ers.

The league probably feels it would not be a stretch to think all players and Morey talked ahead of time to make arrangements ahead of free agency that resulted in the figurative band getting back together in Philly. Harden reportedly is taking less money because he is prioritizing winning above everything else.

Report: James Harden contract draws suspicion within NBA

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden’s new contract with the Philadelphia 76ers is team-friendly to say the least. However, some within the NBA reportedly believe the organization intends to make it up to him later.

Harden essentially took a $15 million pay cut by opting out of his contract and re-signing with Philadelphia for two years and $68.6 million. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, this has led to some speculation around the league that Harden and 76ers GM Daryl Morey made an informal agreement about a new contract next offseason.

“There is a suspicion in some corners of the league that Harden had to have consented to this arrangement because he also secured a wink-wink guarantee about the future — meaning a promise from Morey that would allow Harden to recoup what he left on the table this offseason by declining the player option for next season in his new Sixers deal and then signing a whopper of a five-year deal in the summer of 2023 at almost 34,” Stein wrote, via RealGM. “Such speculation is inevitable given how close Morey and Harden clearly are, but I’ve also heard plenty around the league question whether the Sixers, beyond the fact that these types of arrangements are against league rules, could actually bring themselves to give Harden any assurances.”

Given the league’s increased focus on tampering rules and other special arrangements, this may be something they choose to look into. Still, it seems like it would be very difficult to gather evidence for.

Harden’s new deal does have some protections built into it that favor the guard. Still, other teams being this suspicious means it is a situation to monitor.

James Harden’s new contract with 76ers has interesting element

James Harden dribbles

Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden’s team-friendly new contract probably feels like Christmas for Philadelphia 76ers fans. But it turns out that Harden is at least getting some protection in the deal.

The official terms of Harden’s new contract were revealed this week. Harden is getting a two-year, $68.6 million deal from the 76ers with a player option in Year 2 (in other words, a 1+1 deal). That marks a significant pay cut from what Harden could have gotten just by picking up the $47.3 million player option he originally had for next year. But it will also allow Harden to become a free agent again next offseason to negotiate a new deal.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks pointed out something interesting about Harden’s new contract. He noted that Harden, since he has a player option for the second year, holds veto power over any trade next year. In other words, the 76ers will not be able to trade him without his permission if things go south.

1+1 contracts are usually given to cream-of-the-crop superstars with zero chance of ever being traded anyway (like LeBron James and Kevin Durant). Those deals are also usually for the max or close to it. Harden getting a 1+1 is notable because he is no longer a bona fide superstar at 32 years old and has already been traded twice in the last 18 months. Additionally, Harden, who is piling up both mileage and injuries, is also giving up some longer-term security and even taking a pay cut to do so. But on the bright side, Harden still gets the protection against a trade that a 1+1 provides.

In any case, the 76ers will probably never consider trading Harden since they have made a number of Harden-centric moves this summer. But if the team eventually wants to mount a run at the Kevin Durant’s and Donovan Mitchell’s of the world, Harden is effectively off the table as a trade chip.

76ers choose interesting location for training camp this year

Doc Rivers in a suit

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are doing what Phil Jackson used to do for the L.A. Lakers in holding training camps in Hawaii … only the complete opposite.

76ers head coach Doc Rivers told Marc J. Spears of ESPN that the team will be heading to Charleston, S.C. for training camp this year. Rivers notes that the location was chosen so that the 76ers can both prepare for the coming season without distraction as well as learn the local history.

Charleston is the largest city in South Carolina and is home to multiple key sites from the Civil War. But with a population of just over 150,000, it is a far cry from the major cities that NBA teams are used to visiting, even Philadelphia itself, which has a population of nearly 1.6 million.

The 76ers need to get their heads in the game ahead of a season where the expectations will be astronomical. On top of it being the first full season of Joel Embiid and James Harden together, the 76ers just brought in players such as PJ Tucker and De’Anthony Melton to add to their rotation with the likes of Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris. Hopefully though, all the players on their roster arrive to camp on schedule this time around.

James Harden explains why he took pay cut from 76ers

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden is speaking out about the recent haircut he got from his team.

The Philadelphia 76ers star spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports in an exclusive interview and revealed why he accepted a pay cut in free agency.

“I had conversations with [GM] Daryl [Morey], and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players,” Harden said. “I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over.

“This is how bad I want to win,” the former NBA MVP continued. “I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”

In the interview, Harden goes on to discuss his performance last season, his relationship with Sixers co-star Joel Embiid, and many other topics. You can read the interview in full here.

Then ten-time All-Star Harden was acquired by the 76ers at the NBA trade deadline last season but failed to meet expectations. Though he managed a 21-7-10 line in the regular season, come playoff time, Harden shrunk like a cotton shirt in the dryer (outside of one excellent outing against the Miami Heat during the second round). Whether Harden’s struggles were due to his lingering hamstring injury or natural decline at 32 years old (with the most minutes played in the league over the last decade) remains up for debate.

Ultimately, Harden declined a $47 million player option for next season and will instead play on a 1+1 deal in which he takes a sizable reduction in salary. That, in turn, helped Philadelphia sign Harden’s ex-Houston teammates PJ Tucker and Danuel House in free agency (on top of trading for De’Anthony Melton and signing reigning G League MVP Trevelin Queen). There are some indications that the 76ers may be able to acquire another one of Harden’s old teammates as well.

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.

Notable free agent says he wants to join 76ers

Joel Embiid holds a ball

Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers’ ensemble cast could be adding another member.

Free agent forward Markieff Morris said this week on Twitter that he would like to join the 76ers. A fan had tweeted Morris, writing, “Come to Philly.”

“Been wanting to for a while now,” said Morris in reply.

Morris, 32, remains an unrestricted free agent. He barely was able to play last season for the Miami Heat, missing over four months of action with a neck injury suffered in a fight with Nikola Jokic (see video here). In the 17 games Morris did play, he averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. He is also a native of Philadelphia and has “#PhillyMade” in his Twitter bio.

The 76ers already signed one forward away from the Heat this offseason (PJ Tucker), but they could still use more depth at the position beyond Tobias Harris (who is a trade candidate) and Georges Niang. It is worth noting though that star Joel Embiid has feuded with the Morris family before.