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#pounditThursday, May 30, 2024

James Harden sends clear message about where things stand with 76ers

James Harden before a game

Feb 13, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) during warmups against the Houston Rockets at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has been taking part in training camp with the Philadelphia 76ers, but it does not sound like the relationship between him and the team has been repaired in any way.

Harden spoke with reporters on Friday about where things stand in the wake of his trade request. When asked if there is anything that can be done to resolve the issues between him and 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, Harden bluntly replied “no.” The former MVP then compared the situation to losing trust in a marriage.

Perhaps just as noteworthy, Harden said he will continue to show up to work and that his “plan is to play basketball.”

“I can control what I can control,” Harden said. “I’ll take it one day at a time and focus on every day is a new day. But my plan is to play basketball, yes, for sure.”

Harden also told reporters that he intended to retire with the 76ers when they acquired him in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Those feelings were not mutual, he says.

“When I got traded here, my whole thing was I wanted to retire a Sixer. I wanted to be here and retire a Sixer,” Harden said. “The front office didn’t have that in their plans, you know what I mean? It’s really out of my control. It’s something I didn’t want to happen, to be in this position. But I gotta make a decision for my family. This is a business. It’s just as simple as that.”

Harden told NBA officials that he called Morey a liar because Morey promised to trade him quickly and did not follow through. That has always been hard to believe.

Harden opted out of his $47 million player option last offseason and signed a new two-year deal with the Sixers. He took what amounted to a $15 million pay cut when you consider what he would have gotten with a max contract. One theory was that Morey assured Harden last year that he would be rewarded for his selflessness with a max contract 12 months down the road. Morey may have then changed his mind when Harden’s play slipped last season.

Whatever the case, Harden still wants out of Philly. He is said to have his eye on one landing spot, but it may be a while before he is moved.

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