James Harden has openly expressed his desire for a trade before the 2023-24 season kicks off, ideally to the Los Angeles Clippers. However, the Philadelphia 76ers have halted any trade negotiations centered on the ex-MVP, according to sources in touch with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Although the Sixers engaged in discussions with the Clippers and other teams, no franchise has shown a willingness to match the valuation set by general manager Daryl Morey and his team.
Earlier in June, Harden voiced his trade preference upon accepting his $35.6 million player option. Yet the 76ers’ current intent is to reintegrate him into training sessions for the season’s commencement, potentially causing friction with the discontented player, notes Wojnarowski.
The Sixers are confident that the combination of Harden, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and others have the potential to vie for the championship title. Hence, they’re inclined to maintain this potent lineup.
Is Harden expected at the training camp? Per The Athletic’s Sam Amick, it’s doubtful. A source close to Harden shared with Amick that he isn’t keen on representing Philadelphia and intends to skip the training camp.
Rewinding to 2020, Harden’s wish to be traded from the Houston Rockets before the season wasn’t fulfilled. The agitated player then delayed his training camp arrival, explaining to journalists he was practicing independently in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
Subsequently, once the matches began, Harden aired his grievances about his fellow players, remarking that the Rockets lacked adequate synergy, skill, and overall proficiency. This didn’t sit well with some Rockets members, especially seasoned center DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins commented to the media,
“The lack of regard began much earlier than any interview. His training camp demeanor, his behavior outside the game — the disrespect had already set in. So, this didn’t just suddenly erupt… It’s grossly unfair to the rest of our team members.”
Could Philadelphia witness a comparable scenario if Harden’s not transferred by season onset? Time will tell.
Notably, Morey’s handling of the Ben Simmons situation indicated his willingness to impose fines on absentees and his patience in securing an appropriate trade deal.
In the previous season, the renowned 10-time All-Star delivered averages of 21 points, 10.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 three-pointers, and 1.2 steals. His shooting stats stood at 44.1% overall, 38.5% for threes, and 86.7% for free throws.