According to the latest round of NBA news, James Harden’s relationship with Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey has become ‘severed.’ This is after the 10-time All-Star felt like the Sixers mishandled his looming free agency, which prompted Harden to pick up his player option in 2023-24 in order to facilitate his Philly exit.
Once deemed an unbreakable bond between exec and star player, the relationship between Morey and Harden appears to have taken an ugly turn.
NBA News: Daryl Morey Reveals Sixers’ Outlook On James Harden Trade Saga
Morey has now spoken out after the reports about his supposed unsavory relationship with Harden went public. The high-ranking Sixers executive did not vehemently deny the claims. He did, however, lay out Philadelphia’s plan on trading Harden:
“James is a very good player. Right now, unfortunately, he does prefer to be somewhere else,” Morey said in a recent radio interview (h/t Kurt Helin of NBC Sports). “I do have a long relationship with him, and I am attempting to honor that. If we do look at a trade, it will be for one of two things. Either a player who helps us be right there like we were last year. Up 3-2 on one of the best teams in the East, the Celtics. Obviously, we didn’t get it done, but James is one of the reasons we were up 3-2.
“Or we are going to do it where we get enough draft picks so we can turn those into a player who can be a running mate with Joel. If we don’t get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, then we will just not do it. If James were to turn his mind around, we would all be thrilled. But he prefers to be traded now, and we are attempting to honor that.”
Simply put, the Sixers are not in any real rush to trade Harden. They’ve already set their price and they have no intention of going below the bar. I guess this is short of saying that if they end up retaining a disgruntled James Harden beyond the offseason, then so be it.
NBA News: Revisiting James Hardens’ Savage Jab At Giannis Antetokounmpo
James Harden was named the league’s MVP in 2018. He had an excellent shot at going back-to-back the following season, but ultimately, it was Giannis Antetokounmpo who ran away with the title. The Milwaukee Bucks superstar won the award again in 2020, allowing him to take the honor of becoming a two-time, back-to-back NBA MVP.
There was a lot of debate surrounding Giannis’ MVP run. Harden, for one, clearly believed that he deserved the crown. So much so, that he once took a savage shot aimed at Antetokounmpo after the latter won his first MVP trophy:
“I wish I could just run and was 7-feet and run and just dunk,” Harden said back in 2020. “Like that takes no skill at all.”
Obviously, Harden’s jab was aimed at Antetokounmpo, who in turn, refused to engage when he had the chance to respond to the shade-throwing:
“I’m not the type of guy to take stabs at somebody,” Giannis said. “… I’m just trying to do my job which is win games and go back home to my family. At the end of the day, if that’s what he believes that’s what he believes. I can’t say anything about it. I’ve just got to keep being focused.”
As of right now, there’s no beef between Giannis and Harden. Both superstars are intense competitors and perhaps the competitive spirit just got the better of them, particularly on Harden’s side. At this point, it’s all water under the bridge — as far as I know, at least.
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