James Harden is no longer a member of the Philadelphia 76ers but he hasn't forgotten about former team. Harden was traded to the Clippers after expressing his desire to play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but his initial trade request stemmed from a contract dispute between himself and general manager Daryl Morey.
Predating their time together in Philadelphia, Harden, and Morey have had a successful and extensive history during their eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, where Harden won the 2017-18 NBA MVP Award and enjoyed the best seasons of his career.
With that in mind, Harden took a team-friendly contract extension last offseason so the 76ers could improve the roster around him and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, thinking that Morey would make it up to him in future contract negotiations and give him the max contract offer he claims he was promised, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. However, when it came time for those discussions this offseason, Harden didn't get offered a max contract and the rest is history. Or, so we thought.
Harden and the 76ers still disagree about the contract situation
Both sides continue to have their version of the story. Harden insists he was promised a max deal by the 76ers front office while NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote on Substack that he spoke to a Sixers source earlier this week who contested Harden’s statement.
We may never know the truth but it seems like both sides got what they wanted in the end. Harden had his trade request granted to his preferred team and the Sixers netted a return that has enabled them to remain competitive atop the Eastern Conference.