NBA launches inquiry after James Harden’s public admonishment of 76ers president Daryl Morey: Report

James Harden and Philadelphia 76ers is a story that has the makings of becoming the saga of the transfer season. Just days after Harden called 76ers president of operations Daryl Morey a “liar,” ESPN reported that the NBA has launched an inquiry into the whole issue.

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden reacts during Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series(AP)
Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden reacts during Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series(AP)

“The league office is believed to be pursuing an understanding of whether Harden was portending a 2023-24 holdout in violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement or had been referencing past contract discussions with the organization that might constitute salary cap circumvention,” sources said.

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Harden, a former MVP and one of the most prolific shooters in the league, has already expressed his desire to move away from Philadelphia this season. At an event in China last week, when Harden was asked about his NBA team claiming to end trade talks, he responded, “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organisation that he’s a part of.”

The report also claimed that Harden had privately indicated that the “liar” remark was only over the Philadelphia 76ers ending trade discussions and the possibility of him playing for the franchise this season.

James Harden is part of Philadelphia’s big plans to bring the NBA championship trophy to the “city of brotherly love.” Harden’s partnership with Joel Embiid, the current MVP, was expected to guide the 76ers to the NBA Finals last year. But the 76ers once again faltered in the playoff stage relinquishing a 3-2 advantage against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.

The star guard had signed a $68.6 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers just last year. The deal included a player option. Harden is believed to be veering towards a deal with the LA Clippers forming a blockbuster star trio with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The 76ers held talks with the Clippers but failed to reach a meeting point for a possible trade. That’s when the reports started surfacing about Harden joining the 76ers training camp.

Andre Iguodala, a former NBA champion, had supported Harden’s tough stand in a recent interview. In an episode of Gil’s Arena podcast, a four-time champ with Golden State Warriors, said, “What is James’ safety net?…It was a great move out of leverage by James. One, because it’s gonna be hard to discipline James, because what did he do wrong? And James will sell some shoes. That’s ultimately why he’s over there [China].” Iguodala claimed that many times General Managers receive more protection than players.

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