Why has the NBA fined the Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden $100,000?
As the feud between the former MVP and his team enters into its ugliest phase, the league has now taken the decision to fine him for refusing to practice.
It’s been a roller coaster ride in recent weeks where the former Rockets and Nets star is concerned, and with the NBA now seemingly taking a decision on what it perceives as an infraction on the player’s part, we can only assume that things will get worse before they get better.
NBA fines James Harden $100k for refusing to practice
According to reports on Tuesday, the NBA has fined the Philadelphia 76ers’ James Harden $100,000 for “indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team.” It’s important to understand that the 33-year-old’s decision followed the explosive video which was circulated on social media. Appearing in front of fans in China during a tour of the country, Harden called Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey a “liar,” before stating that he would “...never be a part of an organization that he’s part of.” Days later, Harden indicated that the relationship with the franchise was beyond repair.
“The league’s investigation, which included an interview of Harden, confirmed that these comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not accommodate his request to be traded,” the league said in a statement. In case you are wondering, the hefty chunk of change that Harden will now have to pay - $100k - is the maximum fine that can be issued to a player in the NBA.
Context doesn’t make James Harden’s situation clearer
Now, it is worth noting that Harden’s sudden change of tune is somewhat out of left field for a player who voluntarily took a pay cut last summer, while publicly stating he wanted to give the franchise greater flexibility where the roster was concerned. Indeed, that’s a far cry from his decision to pick up his $35.6 million player option this offseason, before requesting a trade. Yes, it’s been reported that Harden and Morey discussed trading him should he do so, however, that doesn’t remove the shock of all that has transpired since.
At any rate, what is clear is that the NBA has taken issue with Harden’s decision to sit out. It goes without saying that his public spat with the 76ers front office doesn’t help. Yet, regardless of who says or does what, there is one thing that’s concrete and that’s the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which 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.” That’s to say, the clock is ticking for James Harden who now has nothing to bargain with having picked up his player option. As always, watch this space.