WASHINGTON: The NBA is investigating whether the Philadelphia 76ers’ free agency deals with star James Harden as well as P.J. Tucker and Danuel House violated league rules, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday. The Inquirer was one of several US media outlets reporting a probe had been launched. Philadelphia had room under the salary cap to bring in Tucker and House after Harden had declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season, later re-signing with the team at a paycut of about $14 million for the coming season. His new two-year deal also reportedly includes a player option for $35.6 million for 2023-24. ESPN reported that “there have been questions about whether there’s already a handshake agreement in place on a future contract” for Harden, which would violate rules laid down in the collective bargaining agreement. The Inquirer, citing an unnamed source, said the 76ers are cooperating with the probe. Harden, a 10-time All-Star, officially signed a new deal on Wednesday. He joined Philadelphia in February in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets. “This is where I want to be,” Harden said on Wednesday. This is where I want to win and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal.” The NBA implemented tougher penalties for tampering — illegally contacting or negotiating with free agents or future free agents — in 2019. Teams can be fined or stripped of draft picks for breaking the rules.