James Harden rocked our socks when he called Daryl Morey a liar on Monday. The veteran superstar is disgusted with his long-time Team President, who presided over both his Rockets and Sixers days. But a difference in agreement and a breakdown in communication over a potential new contract this summer led to a now very hostile environment.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski weighed in with a story Saturday stating “that the 76ers planned to bring Harden back to training camp and for the start of the season, setting up an uncomfortable situation with the unhappy star.”
And Woj had more on a recent “NBA Today” segment posted from NBA on ESPN on X:
According to Woj:
“This goes back to late June, James Harden opting into the last year of his contract $35.5M, instead of going into free agency and negotiating a long-term extension with the Sixers. And essentially, James Harden, his agent decided, believed at that time, they were not going to get the type of extension that they wanted, which was longer-term, closer to max money, and so they opted in to the deal which then allowed him to be traded and told the Sixers ‘trade us, trade him to the Clippers.’
Sixers really have not had any real interest in trading James Harden. They can’t get value back that continues to allow them to be a contender. And essentially, they pulled him off the market on Saturday, they called the Clippers, told them ‘we’re not gonna talk about a trade anymore.’
The two sides never got anywhere anyway, and then James Harden comes out earlier today [calling Morey a liar]. This has been escalating behind the scenes all year, now it is playing out in public. James Harden’s goal is to make the Sixers so uncomfortable that they just decide that they cannot bring him back to training camp and they do a trade....”
I’m not quite sure what Woj means when he says this has been “escalating behind the scenes all year.” We did learn back in the spring that Harden clashed with former head coach Doc Rivers. Does that refer back to tension between Harden and Rivers, or is that more specifically related to Harden banking on a massive payday from Morey and co.? Could it be the tension created from Harden’s camp leaking Rockets rumors all season long? Was Harden doing that in response to some hardball tacts from the Sixers front office?
Your guess is as good as mine there. But Harden, not long ago, took to social media to remind us all he’s ready to get uncomfortable.
“Been comfortable for so long. It’s time to get uncomfortable,” Harden posted on Instagram.
This update from Woj, coupled with Harden’s own statement in China that he “will never be a part of an organization that [Morey’s] a part of,” certainly sets us up for another Ben Simmons-esque standoff.