Should the NBA investigate James Harden’s claim of being lied to?

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After last summer — when James Harden took a $14.4 million contract haircut to facilitate the 76ers signing P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, plus trading for De’Anthony Melton — the NBA investigated. While many people around the league thought Daryl Morey and the 76ers had to have a “wink-wink” deal with Harden to get him to take that pay cut, what the league found was tampering through early contact with Tucker and House. It cost the 76ers two second-round picks.

In the wake of Harden calling Daryl Morey a “liar,” there has been a push from some quarters for the league to re-open the investigation. Marc Stein talked about it in his latest newsletter.

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There are now calls for the league to re-investigate Philly again to try to assess what Morey allegedly lied to Harden about.

As noted above, the league investigated the Harden/Tucker/House situation. If it had found evidence of a promise of a future contract, Adam Silver would have come down much harder on Philly. Does Harden or his agent have any new evidence on this front?

That’s not to say Morey and the 76ers are innocent here. It is certainly possible a larger contract was implied to Harden and his camp, or that there was even a handshake deal. It’s just impossible to prove that without an email, text or some other kind of evidence spelling it out.

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Harden has said Morey lies about a lot of things — including a promise of Pizza Fridays — but at the core of the issue it’s about Harden not getting paid. Or traded (to a place he can get paid). If/when Harden shows up to training camp, reporters will ask him specifically what Morey lied to him about, and maybe things get real. Maybe.

We’ll see if anything comes of the calls for an investigation, but I wouldn’t bet on it.



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