Players requesting a trade is nothing new to the NBA, as various stars have looked to move on to new endeavors in recent years. However, this offseason has been a little different with the situations surrounding Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard and Philadelphia 76ers superstar James Harden.

Lillard requested a trade from the Blazers after spending 11 years with the franchise, and there have been various reports signaling that the seven-time All-Star only wants to play for the Miami Heat. This sparked a response from the league office, as they warned Lillard and his agent that they will not condone any actions in which the player and his representation only push for a trade to his desired destination, especially if they told rival teams that he would only show up and play for the Heat if traded.

As for Harden, his situation is a little more complicated and messy. Whereas Lillard seems to be willing to work with the Blazers on a trade, Harden is not amused with the Sixers and even recently called out team president Daryl Morey while at an event in China. The 10-time All-Star and former league MVP voiced his displeasures with the organization not giving into his trade request, stating that Morey was a “liar” and that he would “never be a part of an organization” that Morey was a part of.

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The NBA has since launched an inquiry into Harden's comments and this situation with Morey in order to understand the matter a little further. They are also looking to see if there is a violation of the league's CBA that presents itself from either the player or team.

On Monday, The Athletic's Shams Charania provided some more details from Harden's side of things, claiming that the All-Star told league investigators that his “liar” comments directed at Morey were in response to the executive telling him that he would be traded “quickly” following Harden opting into his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. Recently, the Sixers have come out and made it clear that a trade will not be happening any time soon and that they intend to keep their star guard.

It really does seem like a game of “cat and mouse” is being played between Harden and the Sixers right now, as both sides appear to be calling one another's bluff.

The team has not been wanting to trade the guard due to interest around the league being low and from Harden's point of view, he has been fixated on the Los Angeles Clippers as his next destination. While the Sixers and Clippers did hold conversations regarding a possible trade, no momentum was ever truly made and Los Angeles has been unwilling to offer the high price Philadelphia has set.

Now, there are reports claiming that Harden will do everything he can to force the 76ers hand in a trade, possibly holding out of training camp and continuing his criticism of the organization as a whole.

The NBA has yet to send teams any memo regarding this situation with Harden like they did with the Blazers and Lillard, nor have they commented on the situation in Philadelphia at this time. Their investigation is ongoing as Harden and the Sixers continue to bat heads with one another.