James Harden: Top 10 Sixers busts since 2000
When the trade went down, many thought the Sixers pulled a fast one on the Brooklyn Nets. In the end, it was James Harden who pulled a fast one on the Sixers. Although Ben Simmons has not panned out for the Nets at this point, one could argue that Harden’s off-season drama and inept playoff performances, when it mattered most, could have deeper implications than Sixers fans can imagine. Where did things go wrong?
The anticipation for the All-NBA Top 75 point guard to play alongside Joel Embiid was as thick as Harden’s beard. He arrived in Philly saying all the right things. He was all about winning and making life easier for Embiid, which is true of the regular season. He was a good soldier, doing what was best for the team, taking less money so Daryl Morey could sign complementary pieces like P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, Jr. Then, the playoffs changed everything.
While Harden did put up two 40+ point games versus the Celtics in the conference semifinals, he was atrocious in the other games, especially games six and seven. While Embiid struggled with a knee injury, Harden was nowhere to be found on the court, shooting poorly and turning the ball over.
His relationship with Doc Rivers soured, and not too long after that his relationship with Daryl Morey went even further south. When James Harden publicly called Morey a liar while on a marketing campaign in China in the summer of 2023, Sixers fans were waiting to see how he would handle his contract situation. It’s been a mess ever since.
Harden was fined $100,000 for his comments by the league, but he remains steadfast in his position of never wanting to play for Philadelphia again. One would think the league leader in assists, playing with the most recent MVP, would be a sweet situation. Not for Harden. Clearly, he wants more money and more years than Morey is willing to offer.
This was just another case of Philly getting an All-Star player in a trade who is past his prime. As Sixers fans suffer in the limbo state Harden has caged them in, he is hoping for a change of scenery. For Sixers fans, the feeling is mutual.