Time must be a flat circle because the Philadelphia 76ers are in another situation where a star player is disgruntled with the decisions made by the front office. Point guard James Harden has opted into his $35.6 million option and has made it known that he would like to play basketball, just not for the Sixers.
Another Harden trade request and his preferred destination is in his hometown of Los Angeles with a desire to join forces with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. President of Basketball Operations and longtime James Harden-believer, Daryl Morey, is not unfamiliar with playing hardball with a player demanding to be traded elsewhere. Morey’s plan of playing the ‘Waiting Game’ will wear on the team’s foundation and morale.
It’s hard to believe, and totally probable, that the Sixers find themselves in a situation like this again. It’s unbelievable because the team is not even two full seasons removed from the Ben Simmons holdout. That move ironically netted the team Harden’s services in return. This large speed bump is still visible in the mirrors of our team bandwagon.
Why are the Sixers putting Joel Embiid through this drama again?
On the flip side, where the Sixers find themselves was a likely landing spot given the current nature of the league. Morey pulled the trigger on a Harden reunion trade, which hasn’t panned out to their great expectations.
This led to Morey pivoting to what mentality landed him Harden in the first place, acquiring a star in return for the disgruntled player. Although it is somewhat common nowadays for NBA stars to become available while under contract, Morey is essentially leading the Sixers and their fans into a long line for a roller coaster with no time payoff or exact target to be waiting on.
Despite Morey’s specific philosophies and tendencies as a decision-making executive, the Sixers seem motivated to make a deal to move Harden. Morey has been able to be a spectator to the Harden tantrum tirade movie and a beneficiary of the second request. The trade could net them much-needed two-way depth on the perimeter.
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It’s July but this story will generate traction online and spark conversation regarding the Sixers. The situation is not ideal considering Harden’s past with being unhappy and making demands to be traded elsewhere (Houston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia). What negotiating trick will Harden pull to fulfill his trilogy of trade requests? The first time in Houston it was the fat suit. The second time in Brooklyn he made sure it was noticeable that his effort and effectiveness levels were putrid.
Alas, his final infamous game for Brooklyn was on the road against the Sacramento Kings. Harden scored four points on 2 for 11 shooting, missed all five of his three-pointers, got to the line ZERO times, grabbed seven boards, dished out twelve assists, and turned the ball over six times.
Now imagine if Harden suits up and decides to have a nice medley of his greatest grifting performances because his ego is not being stroked to the correct degree in Philly. The team should not have to bear witness to another high-profile player trying to wield his leverage over the team. The fans should not have to go through this twice in the last three seasons.
The city of Philadelphia will let the Philadelphia 76ers organization, Daryl Morey, James Harden, and anyone that listens know how displeased and disconnected they will be if this messy situation gets even messier and more dragged out.