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We’ve reached the depression stage of James Harden’s trade request

What did James Harden’s cryptic Instagram post mean? Do we care that he’s out eating burgers? When will this insanity end?

Orlando Magic v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Sixers’ starting point guard is potentially set to make life a living hell for the organization after a Game 7 playoff collapse.

What year is it? Could be 2021. Are there fresh new Ben Simmons workout videos? His jumper is wet in an empty gym with no defenders.

Oh, it’s 2023? That’s right. It’s now James Harden tormenting the Sixers and their fans with a trade request — and we’ve officially reached the depression stage.

Last week, Harden decided to go the cryptic social media post route, a little over two months before training camp. Right on time.

He apparently spent last weekend partying in Houston and eating burgers instead of being at Joel Embiid’s wedding in the Hamptons (for the record, I actually agree with James here. Who gives a shit? And why he wasn’t at the wedding is between him and Embiid). To top it off, whoever is running his J-Harden Wines Twitter account thought they’d send out a real cute tweet.

This while acknowledging the predicament he’s put the Sixers in ... by answering questions about Damian Lillard’s trade request from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Let’s start here: you can’t kill Daryl Morey for wanting to get the best return possible out of any Harden trade. The Sixers have the reigning MVP and would like to keep him happy and the roster around him competitive next season. To do that, Morey has to get something worthwhile.

And he made it clear as day on his appearance on the 97.5 The Fanatic last week:

“If we don’t get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, we’re just not going to do it,” Morey said.

This is the stalemate we’ve found ourselves in basically since Harden surprised many by opting into his player option and then asking for a trade to the Clippers way back on June 29.

Harden would like to be traded to L.A.

The Sixers would like to get a star-level player or the assets to get a star-level player in return.

The Clippers are not offering either of those things.

And round and round we go.

When will it end? The bigger question is how will it end? Again, you can’t crush Morey for trying to swing the best deal possible — one that keeps the Sixers competitive while maintaining precious future flexibility.

But this is freaking exhausting. Sure, when the Simmons nonsense ended and Harden was the main piece of the trade package, everyone was excited ... regardless of how you feel about Harden now. Going through that again, though? Haven’t we all suffered enough?

If there is an area where you can criticize Morey, it’s choosing to partner with Harden again. We saw how it ended in Houston ... and in Brooklyn ... and now, here we are.

July is almost over and I’m tired. I’m tired of making a big deal over everything James Harden does. I’ve exhausted just about every option in the trade machine, whether it’s taking back an expiring pu pu platter from L.A. or wrangling a third (or fourth) team in to get a star.

Perhaps acceptance comes in the form of coming to grips with the fact that this process is going to drag on. Media day will happen in early October, with training camp and the preseason right behind it. That means the months of August and September could go on with more cryptic social media messages and burgers.

Speaking of, it might be time to run out and sad eat some Five Guys to cope with this depressive stage. There’s no end in sight.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t drag on until February this time.

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