Despite recent reporting that the Brooklyn Nets won't entertain a James Harden trade before next month's deadline, speculation continues that Harden will join the Philadelphia 76ers as soon as this offseason. And the reasons for that are starting to stray into tampering and collusion territory.

Harden is known to be close friends with Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin. Rival front offices believe that the two have been talking about Harden joining Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason. And those teams are prepared to ask the NBA to look into possible tampering and collusion on the part of Harden, Rubin and the 76ers.

Harden's future in Brooklyn has been under question since he did not sign an extension earlier this past offseason. With a player option for the 2022-23 season, Harden has a great deal of flexibility with his next contract. He could opt in and sign an extension with the Nets, or he could opt out and sign a new five-year contract with Brooklyn. Harden could also opt out and look for a sign-and-trade to a new team, including Philadelphia.