James Harden opting out opens the door for him to take a low enough salary that the 76ers can use their non-taxpayer mid-level exception.
Philadelphia’s rumored target? PJ Tucker, who opted out with the Heat.
In fact, Tucker joining the 76ers might be more concrete than that.
Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
However, several league sources say Tucker will choose the Sixers’ three-year, $ 30 million offer over opportunities to remain in Miami or go back to Milwaukee after free agency begins at 6 pm Thursday. Tucker could receive $ 27 million guaranteed with reachable incentives that could get him to $ 30 million, sources say.
Three sources have said Tucker to the Sixers is a “done deal.” A fourth source has said he would be shocked if Tucker wasn’t in a Sixers uniform next season.
Free agency doesn’t open until tomorrow. It’s hard to see how a deal could be so certain – with such specific contract terms, no less – without tampering.
Whether the NBA will investigate is a different question. The league runs hot and cold on caring about tampering. There’s little predicting.
Perhaps, there’s no deal in place and Pompey’s sources are just getting ahead of themselves and speculating about contract terms. Philadelphia star Joel Embiid said he wanted to play with someone like Tucker. Harden played with Tucker on the Rockets when 76ers president Daryl Morey ran Houston’s front office. It’s easy to connect dots.
Of course, those connections would also give Philadelphia avenues to work backchannels and line up a Tucker deal early.