If this is only the beginning, then the Philadelphia 76ers are in for a tumultuous few weeks before the start of training camp. James Harden wants out and he’s not intent on going gently into that good night.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently reported that Harden is going “to make life very uncomfortable” for the franchise if they don’t trade him. He’s already started that process by calling Sixers president Daryl Morey a “liar.” Then, Adrian Wojnarowski dumped more gas on the fire: “I think ultimately, the leverage for James Harden is to create an environment that Joel Embiid doesn’t want to be a part of.”
This has all the makings of a Christopher Nolan movie. No happy endings or silver linings, only regret and despair as the world burns and the villain has the last laugh. Bottom line, Harden opted into his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season on June 29. The future Hall of Famer could have opted out and entered free agency if he felt that strongly about leaving. He didn’t. Now the two sides are embattled in a bitter divorce, one that may one day make Johnny Depp and Amber Heard look normal.
To recap what set everything in motion, let’s revisit Harden’s incendiary comments from China when he put Morey on blast during a tour for Adidas. He was responding to a report that the Sixers were no longer trying to trade him.
“Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be 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 in the NBA.”
So, where does everyone go from here? What could Harden possibly do to make life that much more uncomfortable for the Sixers? We got a few ideas and off-the-wall scenarios …