James Harden does not want to win. That is not me saying that, it is apparently what Harden wants. Rachel Nichols went on Undisputed on Fox Sports and said the reason Harden wants out of Philly is that he wants to be the main guy on a team again. According to her, he is sick of playing second fiddle to Joel Embiid and wants to go somewhere he can lead the show.
Rachel Nichols says James Harden wants to be the No. 1 option on a team again— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) August 31, 2023
“He thinks he should be leading the show. The reason why he wanted out of Philadelphia in the first place is that it's the Joel Embiid show right now.”
(Via @undisputed / h/t @ClutchPoints ) pic.twitter.com/en8A9t4FjX
It does track with some of what we were hearing directly after the season. One of the things we heard about James Harden at the start of free agency is that he wanted the ball more. He wants to go back to playing his style where it’s constant ISO. And if he wasn’t happy with how little Doc Rivers let him do that, he certainly would not be happy under Nick Nurse. One of the biggest things Nurse emphasizes is the importance of team ball. The Sixers should feature a lot more passing and far less Iso next season.
What does not make sense is why the Clippers then? Does he think he will be the guy on a team that includes Paul George and Kawhi Leonard? Is his hope that they will both be injured enough he gets to be the guy when they go out? Nothing Harden has done all season has made sense. He said he didn’t want to play here, and yet he opted in. Now he says he wants to be the guy, but will only go to the Clippers?
I don’t doubt what Rachel Nichols said, She is known for having a good relationship with a lot of players. And Harden prioritizing looking good over winning tracks with what we know about him. But if it is true, Harden should adjust his trade demand. Let the Sixers move him to some bottom-market team that may actually have something to offer besides aging vets like the Clippers are offering.
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