Tyrese Maxey could have run away from the whole James Harden conversation if he wanted to. He was talking on his podcast where he picks the topics and he calls the shots. It’s the definition of a safe haven. Still, the mature-beyond-his-years player felt the need to address everything that was going on. Maxey wasted no time, jumping right into the stickiest of sticky situations to start the show:
"“I guess we need to address the elephant in the room as people would say,” Maxey said. “My still current teammate and one of my good friends, a brother and my mentor, the James Harden situation … honestly, for myself personally, of course, I’m watching it because I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t see any of it. I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t get on social media. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you that lie. I saw it and, you know, it’s interesting. I will say this about the situation, though. He’s a professional. He’s doing something for a reason and you just have to sit back and kind of understand what he’s doing as a friend but then as a teammate and as someone who is part of the organization that I’m with right now.”"
Maxey, with his mega-watt smile shining through the airwaves, hearkened back to the Ben Simmons fiasco from a few offseasons ago. The situations are eerily similar, although that one was much quieter due to Simmons’ strict code of silence. Everything that leaked out then came from secondary sources or through the grapevine.
Harden? No chance. He’s ready to verbally rumble.
“You have to prepare for whether James is going to be there or not going to be there. And that’s just the nature of it,” Maxey said. “That’s really just the nature of it. And it happens. It’s crazy to say this but it’s not our first rodeo, honestly. That’s funny to say but that’s life. And James is his individual and he’s able to do whatever he pleases.”
Take a good look at the words Maxey used to describe Harden: “good friend, a brother, and my mentor.” He wanted that on record for a reason. Hopefully, those nouns reach the Bearded One’s ears and he sees the error of his ways. If not, well, the Sixers are prepared for Plan B.