The James Harden Drama Is The Strangest Sixers Controversy Yet
Of all the head-scratching moments that have faced the 76ers over the past handful of seasons, this one in which James Harden does not want to play for the organization as long as Daryl Morey is the President of Basketball Operations may be the itchiest on the scalp. Taking the top honor among a large group of baffling scenarios is not an easy task. But as Media Day looms on Monday and training camp in Colorado closely following, the Harden conundrum just may garner the top spot.
It seems so long ago when, prior to the 2017-18 season hope was limitless. Joel Embiid was healthy and surrounded by an exciting cast. Including point guard Ben Simmons. That team proceeded to win 52 games – a 24-win improvement from the season before. The Process seemed to be about to reap the fruits of its losing labor for years to come. And, in truth, it did. The team averaged more than 50 wins a season (not counting the pandemic-shortened one) until last year. Of course, playoff success wasn’t part of the equation, not nearly as much as the soap opera atmosphere.
There was the shooting hiccups/shoulder injury of Markelle Fultz that ultimately led to his ouster. The Jimmy Butler saga and how that all played out still causes headshakes and eye-rolls from the Sixers faithful. There were general manager situations, coaching changes, and of course the trade of Simmons, who basically quit and turned his supposedly aching back on his teammates and the fan base.
And that trade brought on the latest controversy. Harden brought his well-traveled baggage to Philadelphia and it only took a season and a half for him to unload the dirty laundry. Tipped by his words in China that he would no longer play for an organization in which Morey, whom he called a liar, was employed.
So here we go. Another offseason in which the team is in flux without even taking to the basketball court. All this while the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks made huge offseason trades in trying to improve their clubs. The latest being Dame Lillard headed to the opposite of Miami, that being Milwaukee. The rich are trying to get richer in the NBA Eastern Conference, while the Sixers are trying to put out another major forest fire. And now the talk is that they would love to land Jrue Holiday, just included in the Lillard trade and now heading the Portland backcourt.
The cost for the Sixers? Harden and others is the thought. Well, it ain’t gonna be easy when every GM in the league is carrying caveat emptor signs when it comes to Harden.