When it was reported over the weekend that the Phialdelphia 76ers were no longer pursuing a James Harden trade despite both sides agreeing to do so, NBA fans knew fireworks were coming. Though, many likely did not anticipate them coming so quickly or thunderously.

Following Harden's scathing “liar” comment about Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the natural conclusion to draw is that the 10-time All-Star would not report to the team. A holdout is not a feasible solution, though. ESPN's NBA front office insider, Bobby Marks, explained as much when communicating the “language” of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“Withholding services: A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have ‘complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder,”' Marks conveyed on Twitter. “Accordingly, such a player shall not be a Veteran Free Agent and shall not be entitled to negotiate or sign a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless and until the Team for which the player last played expressly agreed otherwise.

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Simply put, James Harden has to show up. That doesn't mean, however, that The Beard can't still force his way to another team like he did in the past. The six-time All-NBA First-Team selection was visibly miserable and dissatisfied while playing for the Rockets in 2021. He stepped onto the court but ultimately cultivated a negative and toxic atmosphere that left the organization no other choice than to acquiesce to his trade request.

If Harden's demands are not immediately met, he does what's necessary to get his way in the end. That is a scary thought for Morey, the entire organization and Sixers fans. Although Philly is intent on keeping the star guard, a trade might truly be inevitable if peace is to ever be restored in the City of Brotherly Love.