NBA rumors: Ex-GM thinks Sixers will be investigated by league

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Ex-GM thinks NBA will investigate Sixers over Harden deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Don't look now, Sixers fans, but some folks in the basketball world think your team cheated.

Buzz has been building for a little while now about the timely departure of former Sixers owner Michael Rubin, the subsequent significant paycut James Harden is reportedly going to take in his new contract, and the buddy-buddy relationship those two have.

This week at Summer League, Yahoo!'s Chris Haynes reported Rubin was part of the contract negotiations between the Sixers and Harden... despite no longer being a member of the organization.

MORE: Harden plans to sign new two-year deal with player option

It's enough odd behavior to make some observers pause and go, 'Hmm.'

And apparently one former general manager thinks the NBA is going to investigate the Sixers.

On a new episode of Zach Lowe's The Lowe Post podcast, ex-Nets GM Bobby Marks was asked by Lowe if he foresees the league taking aim at the Sixers and at least asking some questions.

Here's what Marks had to say:

"LOWE: I would expect the league office to say, 'Hold on, let's at least take a look at what happened here.' Do you expect that to happen?

"MARKS: I do. I do expect that to happen. And I'm out here in Vegas, it's not like I have confirmed facts or anything, but any time - let's just connect the dots here. You have an owner, a former owner, in Michael Rubin - probably one of the wealthiest American former owners, billionaire, Fanatics - just has this big party. You've got all these NBA guys there. There's a relationship with James Harden already. There's a relationship with Harden when he was in a Brooklyn Nets uniform, there's no denying that. 

"And now you have [Harden] taking $15 million less, where I was texting with a couple teams and I said, 'What's the $15 million made up with, Fanatics stock?' And they said, 'Maybe.' So I would think that, if you're the league - hey, we got investigated for Andrei Kirilenko. Kirilenko opted out of $10 million with Minnesota and signed with us for $4 million because we had a Russian owner, and the league felt like we were basically bankrolling him in an offshore account for the difference. 

"So for me, I would think because of the difference - it's not $5 million of $6 million - the league should look into the Sixers. Philly can say, 'He's doing it out of the charity of his heart because he wants to get the team better,' and that's great, and maybe it is. But if I was the league, I would certainly look into it."

There you have it! Get ready for some league-sponsored haterade, Sixers fans.

(Unrelated but I think it's hilarious that the league found Kirilenko taking less money to live in Brooklyn instead of Minnesota suspicious. I mean, can you really blame the guy?)

To be clear, the odds of anything coming out of any potential investigation are terribly low. I don't think the Sixers have done something wrong.

Rubin had to divest from the Sixers because of the direction of his Fanatics business. His relationship with Harden goes way back before the thought of Harden in a Sixers jersey was even remotely feasible. And while Harden is taking less in the short term, he's also setting himself up to make a lot of money in the long term - while positioning himself to take a legitimate swing at winning a title with Joel Embiid by filling the roster with better players.

Is it so impossible to believe that Harden, who has made a quarter-billion dollars in the NBA and has money streaming in from his bountiful brand partnerships, would be okay sacrificing $12 million to try and win an elusive title at this point in his career?

I don't think so.

But we'll see what the league thinks! Should be fun.