The Philadelphia 76ers are almost fully back. They have made their first official step in reporting to training camp. This positive theme is derailed because the team is surrounded by controversy due to a disgruntled player. Yet again, the Sixers have problems with another left-handed shooting lead ballhandler. Media day was on Monday and it was a lot of different things. It was fun, interesting, dramatic, enlightening, and PR-driven. But most of all it was annoying to hear about the James Harden situation all day. It’s only the beginning of October and this feeling of frustration from this situation has permeated throughout the Sixers fanbase.
Without bias, why wouldn’t it? Similar to the Ben Simmons saga, The team is in limbo again with the deemed Robin to Joel Embiid’s Batman. The situation is a painfully clear mirror of the lack of continuity that the organization has had since at least 2018. Only this time, there is less goodwill built up between Harden and Sixers fans in comparison to Simmons. He is one of the best offensive players of all time and he has helped raise Joel Embiid’s game to another level.
The whole James Harden thing is giving 76ers fans not-so-good-flashbacks
That seems to be the extent of the goodwill at this point. Other than that there’s a handful of useful examples in his time with the Sixers that have fans not believing in him, which has been a season and a half. Examples go from disappearing in the second half of Game 6 of the 2022 second-round series against the Miami Heat, leaking that he’s leaning heavily towards returning to Houston throughout this past season, his inability to hit layups in traffic anymore, his collapse against Boston these past playoffs, and those are just the main examples. Then Harden’s past situations with the Rockets and Nets have to be factored in for the fact that he’s now trying to force his way out of a third franchise in four years.
What else can happen at this point? Harden doesn’t have a real leg to stand in negotiations. It’s been well-documented what Harden has done that has put him in this desperate negotiation mode. It all began when he requested a trade out of Houston. “The Beard” declined a max contract extension worth 103 million dollars, on top of the 132.9 million he was owed over the next three seasons, from the Houston Rockets in 2020, declined a max contract extension worth up to 227 million dollars, Harden opted into his 38.5 million dollar option after the talks ceased between the Sixers and Harden’s representation. To top it off, Harden demanded a trade but only a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The facts are that Harden wants a max-type salary, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Sixers aren’t eager to give him that large sum of money, he’d prefer to play for the Clippers, he’s going to make things uncomfortable, and he’ll play.
As previously mentioned, Harden was talked about repeatedly at Media Day because of this and the fact that he was absent. Of course, the media has to do its job and ask questions about the whole deal since James Harden demanding another trade is a big story across the NBA.
That’s not the point though. The point is that the situation is the same and will be the same until the move has happened. That is where the frustration comes into play. There are only so many angles to come at this story that is rooted in fact. A decent of other points regarding the situation are speculatory ones. The reports of how each side is leaning are documented. The only thing left to do is wait for the next story to drop with the latest update between James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers. Let’s hope there’s some new information this time.