Nearly two weeks ago, news broke that Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden would exercise his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 NBA season, with the desire to be traded elsewhere and a focus on the Los Angeles Clippers. Despite the presumptive lack of progress on that front and Dave McMenamin’s report that “the signals right now is that he will be back with the Philadelphia 76ers,” Harden’s request to move on from the Sixers remains consistent, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
“James Harden has spoken to [Sixers general manager] Daryl Morey since the first trade request and I think there was some cooling off period. ‘OK, let’s let this lie and see how things play out,’” Shelburne said during a Tuesday appearance on “NBA Today.” “They’ve spoken again and he still reiterated he wants to be traded. Now, this isn’t a demand, it’s a request. And I think the Sixers have said, ‘OK, we will try to trade you, but there is no hurry to do this.
“I think the Sixers understand here that they have the leverage here. I mean, James has picked up his option, this is an opt-in to a contract and he’s going to be a free agent after this season. And so, at some point, he needs to play, whether that’s in Philadelphia or elsewhere.”
Shelburne also said “there is a sense” that over time, “eventually, maybe, those fences can be mended” and that Harden has been in communication with teammates such as Joel Embiid, Patrick Beverley and P.J. Tucker, the former two of which have publicly expressed wishes for Harden to return to Philadelphia.
“But, for now, he has reiterated his trade request,” she said.