James Harden‘s future in Brooklyn is reportedly up in the air after reports started surfacing about his desire to test the free agent market this summer. Harden has never been a free agent in his career, and rumors indicate that he wants to survey his options once the offseason rolls around.
The Nets don’t seem particularly worried about losing him for nothing — the team is not taking calls on him ahead of next month’s trade deadline — but apparently, other teams have some concerns. A new report by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports indicates that teams think something funny is going on with Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers, the franchise that has been most closely linked to him should he move on from the Nets, and apparently, they are considering asking the league to open up a tampering investigation if this comes to fruition.
Harden has been linked to the 76ers because of his relationship with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey from their time with the Houston Rockets. Harden is also friends with 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin.
Some front-office executives believe talks are going on now between Harden and the 76ers on a potential offseason move, and this could be considered tampering by the league.
Harden fits the bill of a superstar player, which Morey has said on numerous occasions is what the team wants to get back should it trade Ben Simmons. Philadelphia would be a sensible option for Harden, too, as he’d be paired with Joel Embiid and get handed the keys to the team’s offense, should he decide he want to go in that direction. Having said that, it would very obviously be tampering if there was anything going on here between Harden and the Sixers before a move happens, even if we don’t have anything right now other than the hunches of a few teams to indicate that is the case.