Disgruntled 76ers star James Harden slams ‘liar’ Daryl Morey

James Harden
James Harden

Just two days following reports that the Philadelphia 76ers had ceased trade discussions involving James Harden, the highly-regarded 10-time All-Star guard expressed strong criticism towards 76ers president Daryl Morey. Harden’s candid remarks emerged during an Adidas media event in China, where he asserted, “Daryl Morey is a dishonest individual, and I have no intention of aligning myself with any organization that bears his involvement. Let me reiterate: Daryl Morey is untruthful, and I will never associate with any team under his purview.”

In response, sources shared with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday that the 76ers had intended to reintegrate Harden into training camp and the upcoming season. This decision, however, sets the stage for an uncomfortable dynamic with the discontented star player.

Throughout the offseason, the Sixers engaged in intermittent discussions with the LA Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination. Regrettably, these negotiations failed to yield a viable trade deal, as the Sixers’ stipulations proved to be formidable, and no franchise, including the Clippers, demonstrated the willingness or capability to meet these terms.

Harden’s discontent with Morey is rooted in the absence of a long-term, maximum-level contract offer. Sources suggest that the team now confronts the prospect of Harden’s participation in training camp potentially undermining their pursuit of a championship. Morey, who served as Houston’s longstanding general manager during Harden’s extensive tenure with the Rockets, faces the repercussions of this strained relationship.

Despite the challenges, Philadelphia remains steadfast in its belief that the return of Harden, alongside MVP center Joel Embiid, could position the team as a formidable championship contender this season. The organization is resolute in its determination to navigate the complexities and ensure a harmonious coexistence with Harden.

Harden, a distinguished figure who secured the NBA MVP title in 2018, has now embarked on his third attempt to orchestrate a departure from his current team within as many years. Following a prolific tenure with the Rockets, during which Morey oversaw the team’s operations, Harden sought a trade to the Brooklyn Nets. His aspirations for a triumphant championship pursuit alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving ultimately fell short, prompting his desire for a move to the 76ers—largely due to his strong professional and personal ties with Morey.

Despite Harden’s achievement as the league leader in assists during the past season, his role transitioned to a secondary position behind Embiid, a dominant presence on the court. However, the prospect of operating as the supporting option alongside Embiid and vying for a championship title in Philadelphia appears to be diminishing.

The 76ers faced a disheartening defeat in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their current standing under the leadership of new coach Nick Nurse places them in a relatively ambiguous position within the East.

Harden’s performance during pivotal playoff games was noteworthy, with standout showings of 45 and 42 points in victories against the Celtics. However, his contribution wavered in other games, including going scoreless in the second half of Game 7.

This scenario evokes memories of the Sixers’ past encounter with a player seeking a trade—former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons—who experienced a souring relationship with former coach Doc Rivers and other figures within the organization. Simmons’ actions led to disruptions during the 2021 training camp, culminating in his absence from Sixers’ games that season, and eventually leading to his trade for Harden.

The information provided by The Associated Press was utilized in the creation of this account.

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