During a recent event in China, James Harden publicly referred to Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey as “a liar.”
According to reports by Shams Charania, this comment was in relation to Harden’s trade request earlier in the offseason.
Harden alleged that Morey promised to trade him promptly after he decided to exercise his $35.6 million player option for the upcoming season.
As part of NBA probe into his “liar” comment, James Harden told league investigators he was referring to Daryl Morey telling Harden he will trade him “quickly” following the $35.6 million opt in for 2023-24, per sources. The 76ers’ stance now is they expect to keep Harden.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 21, 2023
However, the 76ers have now halted trade discussions involving Harden and intend to retain him for the upcoming season.
Morey has previously stated that he would only trade Harden for a high-quality player or an asset that could be transformed into such.
Despite this, no viable offers have emerged, and talks with the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination, have seemingly stalled. It is worth noting that the NBA’s investigation into the matter primarily centered around potential salary cap circumvention.
In the previous offseason, Harden agreed to a one-year deal with a player option, providing the 76ers with additional flexibility to strengthen their roster.
Rumors indicated that a long-term contract would follow this season, but there is no credible evidence suggesting any illegal arrangements between Philadelphia and Harden regarding future contracts.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Harden plans to join Philadelphia’s training camp in September. While he has not held out during trade negotiations, he has displayed subpar performance while waiting for a deal in the past. When he arrived at training camp late and out of shape with the Houston Rockets in the 2020-21 season, it raised concerns.
Additionally, Harden struggled in his final game with the Brooklyn Nets, scoring just four points in a loss to the Sacramento Kings. The future of Harden’s tenure in Philadelphia remains uncertain.
However, based on Morey’s track record, it is unlikely that he will make a hasty trade solely to part ways with Harden. Morey retained the disgruntled Ben Simmons for a significant portion of the 2021-22 season until a suitable trade was found, resulting in the acquisition of Harden.
This trade took time to materialize, even though Harden claimed that Morey assured him it would be expedited.
Currently, the trade seems to be put on hold until further developments occur.
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