Could the Rockets' pursuit of James Harden lead to a tampering investigation?

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The love affair between James Harden and the Houston Rockets is one that will never end. Harden came to the Rockets as a Sixth Man and morphed into a three-time scoring champion, an MVP, and one of the greatest isolation scorers the game has ever seen. 

Harden came to a Rockets fanbase that was destitute and deprived of a star and cornerstone who could give the Rockets a legitimate chance to contend for a title. Harden uprooted his family to Houston, opened a business in Houston, and has continued to fill the Toyota Center as a visitor for two different teams in his returns to Houston as a member of the opposing locker room. 

During his time in Houston, Harden became a regular in the city life, frequenting the strip clubs and discovering why the city of Houston has earned it's moniker as the Stripper Capital (sorry Atlanta). Harden has reportedly set his sights on a potential return to the Rockets, in part because of his affinity for the city of Houston, should his Philadelphia 76ers have a disappointing postseason.

But could the love affair between Harden and the Rockets get the franchise in trouble with the league office? The question is raised because Harden returned to Houston prior to the Sixers' regular-season finale (in which essentially every starter sat out) to get some time with family before the postseason commences.

Could the Rockets' pursuit of James Harden lead to a tampering investigation?

During that time, Harden appeared to train at the Rockets' arena, per his Instagram story.

This seems a bit peculiar, and especially for a player under contract with another team. I mean, think about it. When was the last time you heard about a player under contract with a team working out in another team's facility?

What if Harden would've sustained an injury? And how would he have even gotten access to the Toyota Center?

Wouldn't he have had to have contacted a team official to be granted access? Isn't it against the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement for a team to have contact with a player under contract with another organization?

Surely the Sixers aren't thrilled with the idea of Harden working out at the Rockets' facility. Couldn't he have trained at a private gym (of which there are practically thousands in the greater Houston area)?

Would you be okay with your current partner going to dinner with their previous one? There have also been reports that Harden has trained with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. in the offseason, which gets a bit tricky, as the league can't prevent players from communicating and training together, but could surely make it easier for the league to establish a paper trail, so to speak.

If Harden winds up back with the Rockets this offseason, the Rockets could very easily find themselves in the middle of a tampering investigation, as it would be pretty easy to prove that they've been communicating with Harden. And especially if he continues to post about it on social media.