14 August, 2023
The 10-time All-Star guard criticized Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey two days after it was announced that the 76ers had terminated trade negotiations with regard to James Harden.
At an Adidas media event in China, Harden declared, “Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he is a part of.” “Let me repeat that: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never join a group that he belongs to.”
According to sources who spoke to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday, the 76ers intended to bring Harden back for training camp and the start of the season, which would put the star player in an awkward position.
Harden’s preferred team, the LA Clippers, and the Sixers spoke on occasion during the offseason, but no progress toward a deal was made, according to sources.
After Harden decided to exercise his $35.6 million player option in June, the Sixers agreed to look for a trade on his behalf. However, insiders claim that the Sixers’ asking price was too high and that no teams, including the Clippers, were ready or able to pay it.
The lack of a long-term maximum-level deal offer is the root of Harden’s dissatisfaction with Morey, according to insiders, and the franchise runs the danger of Harden showing up to training camp without a championship mindset. Throughout Harden’s eight-plus seasons with the Rockets, Morey served as Houston’s longstanding general manager.
With Harden’s comeback and MVP center Joel Embiid, Philadelphia feels it will be a title contender, and the organization is committed to finding a way to work with Harden this season, sources said.
The 2018 NBA MVP, Harden, has now attempted to leave his third team in three years. Harden developed into a star while playing for the Rockets under Morey, but he later requested a trade to Brooklyn. In the end, the Rockets agreed and sent him to the Nets. Because of his close personal and business ties to Morey, Harden wanted to be traded to the 76ers when a Big Three championship run with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving didn’t materialize.
Although Harden did lead the league in assists this season, Embiid overshadowed one of the game’s best scorers in isolation. But it seems like competing as Embiid’s backup and trying to win a championship in Philadelphia is no longer a viable option.
Under new coach Nick Nurse, the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be trapped in the center of the Eastern Conference after losing in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In his triumphs over the Celtics in games 1 and 4, Harden scored 45 and 42 points, respectively. Harden and the Losses in Games 2 and 6 were 0 for 6 on three-pointers. In Game 7, he scored just nine points, and the second half was scoreless.
When former No. 1 selection Ben Simmons wanted a trade after his relationship with former coach Doc Rivers and other team members worsened, the Philadelphia 76ers had already traveled this path. In 2021, Simmons disrupted training camp, didn’t play for the Sixers that year, and was finally dealt for Harden.
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