4. James Harden pouted his way out of Houston
Harden wanted to leave the Rockets after the 2020 playoffs where the Lakers bounced them in the second round inside the bubble. Morey left for Philadelphia and Houston failed to upgrade the roster around him. The 6’5 wing could have held out like Simmons, but he made his current team more uncomfortable by showing up and acting out.
Harden partied during the pandemic, missed practices, and did not give max effort. It was clear just nine games into the season that the Rockets had to make a move. They could not let Harden ruin their season by letting the problem linger, so they swiftly dealt him to Brooklyn.
James Harden cannot withhold his services from the 76ers this season because it results in him not becoming a free agent, despite being in the last year of his contract. Philadelphia can make him show up, but they cannot force him to compete at his best. Harden can make things difficult on the court, in the locker room, and behind the scenes if the Sixers do not trade him.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a new coach and the reigning MVP on their roster. They want to win right now, and that could be impossible if James Harden is on the floor but not playing like an All-Star. History points to this getting messier from here.