The NBA is launching an inquiry into the situation involving James Harden’s harsh words toward Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey earlier this week, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

The league is reportedly attempting to determine whether Harden’s comments indicated he would hold out this upcoming season – in violation of the league’s CBA – or referencing past contract discussions that suggest potential salary cap circumvention.

Harden called Morey a “liar” and said that he would “never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of” while hosting an Adidas marketing event in China. The quote came soon after it was reported the 76ers wouldn’t trade the former MVP despite his request.

It’s been widely speculated that Harden took a shorter, cheaper two-year contract than his market value last offseason with a player option in the second season in an effort to help the 76ers’ playoff push in 2022-23. When the market seemed unkind to the 33-year-old this summer, he accepted the option rather than test free agency, with the expectation that he would be traded, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne.

Philadelphia has reportedly continued to deny there were any pre-determined illegal future deals with Harden when negotiating his contract.

Harden has played the last season-and-a-half with the 76ers after being dealt from the Brooklyn Nets, leading the league with 10.7 assists per game last year to go along with 21 points per contest.

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