James Harden believes the relationship with Philadelphia 76ers is irreparable but what did he say?
With a number of twists and turns, the estranged 76ers star has now made it clear that there are irreconcilable differences between him and the franchise.
When looking at the scope of things that have occurred since James Harden asked for a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s hard to see how this drama ends with any scenario other than the 10-time NBA All-Star playing for another team. The only question is who will it be?
James Harden makes his stance on Philly clear
If you’ve been following the reports recently, then you will know it’s been an eventful few weeks for James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers. From his initial request for a trade to failed talks with the Los Angeles Clippers - his preferred destination - to his shocking indictment of 76ers general manager, Daryl More, who he called a “liar”, Harden has not only burned the bridge in recent days, he’s thrown gasoline on the fire. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the 33-year-old acknowledged as much during an event that he hosted in Houston over the weekend.
While he didn’t go into detail, Harden who just returned from a tour of China where he appeared to hint at a possible future in that country’s pro league, spoke briefly about his relationship with the Sixers and the level of patience that he has had with the situation. “I’ve been patient all summer,” Harden said. “For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.” Harden was then asked if he believes the relationship with Philly is beyond repair to which he simply responded, “I think so.”
So, what happens with James Harden and the 76ers no?
That’s the literal and figurative million-dollar question isn’t it? While there is plenty of chatter, what is certain is that Harden picked up his $35.6 million player option with Philadelphia in late June after previously taking a pay cut - last summer - in an effort to help the team build a competitive roster. As we now know, he is, to put it mildly, not pleased with the franchise as it failed to offer him a lucrative extension. What we have to assume here is that there was some form of gentleman’s agreement between Harden and the Sixers or at the very least, he believed there was, hence his verbal assault on Morey. So, at this point what we’re looking at is a scenario that will likely be very costly for the former league MVP (2018).
If Harden maintains his intention to not attend training camp as has been widely reported, it could well result in him being barred from free agency next summer. In case you didn’t know, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states that if a player is in the final year of their contract - Harden is - and chooses to “withhold services” for more than 30 days and isn’t traded by the Sixers this season, then he won’t be allowed to become a free agent next summer until the team “expressly agrees otherwise.” As one can probably imagine, Harden is likely attempting to call Philly’s bluff i.e., such a move on the franchise’s part would almost certainly have a very negative impact on the league itself. On the other hand, it would be ridiculous to believe that the Sixers will let Harden go for pennies. So, we’ve got ourselves a proper standoff. Training camp starts on October 3rd so in theory there is still time, but it’s difficult to see this scenario getting better before it ends. One way or another James Harden’s time in Philadelphia appears to be over. Now, it’s just a matter of which side gets more of what they want.