NBA Rumors: Harden’s next move, Warrior hypes Poole, 3-team Lillard trade

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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James Harden (Mandatory Credit: Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports)
James Harden (Mandatory Credit: Brian Westerholt-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA Rumors: James Harden continues public crusade against 76ers

James Harden is back on U.S. soil after a recent trip to China, during which he sold innumerable pairs of shoes and bottles of wine while publicly disavowing the Philadelphia 76ers organization. Harden called his old friend Daryl Morey “a liar” and vowed never to play for him again, setting the stage for a long and uncomfortable standoff between the former MVP and his current team.

Harden opted into the final year of his contract ahead of free agency and demanded a trade. He could have left the Sixers of his own volition as a free agent, but with no long-term offers materializing on the open market, Harden took the guaranteed $35 million from Philadelphia and decided to make his third trade request in four years.

Now the Sixers have shut down trade talks and are planning to begin the season with Harden on the roster. The point guard has “no plans” to report to training camp, but a holdout of longer than 30 days would essentially revoke Harden’s ability to leave the Sixers at season’s end. As a result, the expectation is that Harden will eventually show up and break out his trademark “I Dont wanna be here” affectation.

Harden continued his public crusade against Sixers management on Friday morning in Houston, where he’s currently hosting a charity event. “I’ve been patient all summer,” to told KHOU 11. “[I can only] focus on what I can control: working out, staying in shape, and getting ready for this season.”

When asked if the relationship with Philadelphia is beyond repair, Harden offered a blunt response: “I think so.”

This interview from Harden is slightly more vague than the answers he gave in China, where he said he would never play under Morey again. Harden’s agent reportedly advised Harden against his comments in China and, by nature of the new CBA, it will be borderline impossible for Harden to actually hold out. There’s still a world in which he shows up and sulks around until the Sixers trade him.