NBA reportedly launches inquiry into James Harden's comments about 76ers, Daryl Morey

OCT. 31 UPDATE: The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly traded James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers early Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports.

The NBA wants to learn more about James Harden's frustrations with the Philadelphia 76ers. The league reportedly launched an inquiry into Harden's comments about 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

During a trip to China on Monday, Harden publicly ripped Morey, calling him a "liar." Harden added he would never be part of an organization that includes Morey. Harden made those comments in front of cameras, ensuring his message was heard. Since then, Harden continued to rail against the organization, saying he believes his relationship with the 76ers is irreparable.

The NBA wants to know the exact reason for Harden's ire. Specifically, the league is looking into whether Harden and the 76ers had a handshake agreement on a future contract that would circumvent the salary cap. If the league finds evidence that was the case, and Harden is upset because the 76ers pulled that offer off the table, the team could face punishment.

The NBA wants to know why James Harden is upset with the 76ers and Daryl Morey. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The NBA wants to know why James Harden is upset with the 76ers and Daryl Morey. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Harden has not made accusations suggesting that's the case. Harden is reportedly upset after the team failed to trade him in the offseason, per ESPN. If Harden called Morey a "liar" because he failed to follow through on a trade, the league is unlikely to punish Harden or the 76ers.

Harden picked up his $35.6 million option in June with the intention the 76ers would trade him. Harden reportedly hoped to go to the Los Angeles Clippers, but no deal materialized. Reports emerged last Saturday that the 76ers were no longer shopping Harden. Two days later, he publicly ripped the team.

Despite all the vitriol, the 76ers expect Harden to report to camp in September. Harden is reportedly planning to be there, per ESPN. Harden could face stiff punishments from the team if he does not report, especially after picking up his option.

Harden, 33, continued to post strong numbers last season. He averaged 21 points and 10.7 assists over 58 games with the 76ers. With Harden and league MVP Joel Embiid, the 76ers made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, where they were defeated by the Boston Celtics.

James Harden headshot
James Harden
SG - LAC - #1
2022 - 2023 season

The 76ers have championship aspirations entering the 2023-24 NBA season. Harden undoubtedly makes them a better team, but only if he wants to be there.

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