NBA looking into 76ers star’s comments that Daryl Morey is a ‘liar,’ per report

The NBA has opened an investigation into the nature of Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden’s public comments about team president Daryl Morey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. While on tour in China earlier this week, Harden called Morey a “liar” and said he would “never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

The goal of the league’s inquiry is to determine whether Harden was suggesting that he would begin a holdout, which is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement, or if he was referencing previous contractual discussions that could be proof of the team circumventing the salary cap.

Harden has reportedly maintained in private that his comments were strictly about Morey deciding to end trade discussions earlier this month and that he’ll report to training camp if necessary. If that is the case, then neither party would be punished, but the investigation is only just underway.

It’s worth noting that the league investigated the Sixers for similar concerns last offseason after Harden signed a team-friendly two-year $68.6 million deal, which allowed them to sign PJ Tucker and Danuel House. The league did not find any proof of a handshake deal that Harden would be taken care of in the future for taking less money, but they did strip the Sixers of two second-round picks for discussing contracts with Tucker and House prior to free agency.

That two-year deal Harden signed included a player option for next season, and it was widely expected that Harden would opt out and enter unrestricted free agency this summer. Instead, he decided to opt in but simultaneously requested a trade. His preferred destination was the Los Angeles Clippers, but the two sides have not been able to work out a deal, which led Morey to pull the plug and instruct Harden to report to camp.

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Harden responded with his comments in China, which took the NBA world by storm. He made further noise upon returning to Houston by saying “I think so” when asked if his relationship with Morey and the Sixers was beyond repair. “I’ve been patient all summer,” Harden said. “For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”

The Sixers will begin training camp on Oct. 3 ahead of a crucial season for the franchise. Whether Harden will be there remains to be seen.

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