We heard at the weekend that the Sixers have decided to end James Harden trade talks with the intention to bring him back for training camp to start next season.
Clearly unhappy with where his situation stands now, Harden didn’t wait long to take about the most aggressive stand he could and make things even more uncomfortable.
At an event in China, he very matter-of-factly called Daryl Morey a liar and made it clear he doesn’t want to be part of the Sixers.
“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden said. “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”
James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.” pic.twitter.com/AmHJ0WwbF2— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2023
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reiterated in an article on Aug. 12 that the Sixers had agreed to search for a trade for Harden after he opted into his 2023-24 player option, but other teams (including the Clippers, aka Harden’s preferred choice) couldn’t match their high asking price. Wojnarowski also commented on Harden’s frustration that Morey didn’t offer a long-term, max-level contract:
Harden is unhappy with Sixers president Daryl Morey over the lack of a long-term maximum-level contract offer, sources said, and the team is risking Harden’s arrival at training camp bringing anything but a championship mindset.
If there is something to justify Harden’s stance in calling Morey a liar, presumably it’s about not being offered a long-term deal this summer — maybe that’s what Harden was expecting after taking a pay cut with his last contract. Either that, or it simply comes down to Harden expecting a guaranteed trade this offseason after he opted in.
Reporting about when and if the Sixers will trade Harden has been going round in circles for a lot of this offseason, but he’s remained firm in his stance of wanting a trade. However frustrated he may be, though, Morey was never going to trade Harden for an unsatisfactory return. He also could’ve easily opted out, tested his true value in free agency, and chosen his destination right away.
Considering Morey and Harden’s long history dating back to their time with the Rockets, and how close their relationship has been for years until recently, Harden taking a stance this strong and this public is clearly a dramatic way to escalate things.
So, yeah... the trade talks may be over for now, but the drama clearly isn’t ending any time soon!