James Harden #1 (L) and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey of the Philadelphia 76ers look on during a press conference at the Seventy Sixers Practice Facility on February 15, 2022 in Camden, New Jersey.

There is always some new drama for the Sixers. Markelle Fultz forgot how to shoot. A former GM was using burner accounts to trash his own players. Ben Simmons wouldn’t shoot, then faked an injury to avoid playing and forced his way off the team. All of that goes along with the fact they continue to choke every single season in the 2nd round of the playoffs. And now, it is James Harden. 

After the Sixers decided they would not trade James Harden, because he has no value and they weren’t going to get anything for him, Harden is upset. At an Adidas event in China, Harden said “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. 

Apparently, Harden was under the impression he would get a long-term deal after taking a team-friendly deal last season. But can you blame the Sixers for not wanting to give him a max deal after what happened in the playoffs? So now the Sixers are stuck with a player who does not want to be here but is not worth anything in a trade. The latest in a never-ending onslaught of drama for the Sixers. 

The Sixers deserve their share of the blame for it all. Morey brought Harden in here, knowing his history of doing similar things with other teams. And while we, mostly, all liked the trade at the time, we knew this was a possibility. But let’s not act like James Harden is the victim here. Despite his public statements suggesting the Sixers wronged him somehow, Harden has only himself to blame for the predicament he is in.

So let’s run through all of the things that lead to Harden, and the Sixers, being in this tough spot, and why it is mostly Harden’s fault:

  • Never Shows Up in The Playoffs

    To Harden’s credit, he was pretty great in the regular season. Not Houston Harden great, but he adjusted his game and played like an elite playmaker, leading the league in assists. It helps when you are playing with the MVP, Joel Embiid, and also one of the best 3-point shooters in the league in Tyrese Maxey. But Harden was great in his own right. 

    Then the Celtics series happened. And I am sorry, but I can’t give him too much credit for the two 40-point games when he was a liability in 4 of the other 5 games. There were games where Harden was hurting them every time he stepped on the floor. He was missing everything, playing bad defense, and reverted to his dribble out the clock, and take a bad shot, form that we have seen in the past. That is nothing new for Harden. He has a long history of choking in the playoffs.

    You can’t give that guy a max deal. He has already lost a step, imagine what he will look like 4 seasons from now? If he went into that series and looked like a Super Star, he could have forced the Sixers to pay him. Instead, he did what he always does in the playoffs, he choked.  

    14 Times James Harden Looked Awful in the Playoffs
  • He Chose To Opt In

    Hey Harden, if you didn’t want to be here, you had the power to not be here. You had a player option. If you declined it, you would be a free agent, and you could play wherever you want. Instead, you picked it up. So what is the problem?

    Oh, I get it. You couldn’t get the money you wanted on the free agent market, we will get to that, so you opted in trying to make the Sixers do your job. The player option, plus the $5 million trade kicker, was more than any team was offering you. But he still didn’t want to be here. So he opts in, then asks for a trade.

    He wanted the best of both worlds. The money the Sixers were offering, and being on the team he wants. But somehow it is the Sixer’s fault now that he is stuck here. All he had to do was opt-out, and he would have had his way, not playing for Morey’s team. Feels like that is what he should have done.

    James Harden Picks up His Option, Expected to be Traded
  • No One Else Wanted Him

    Remember, before Harden opted in, his original plan was to opt out and seek a deal elsewhere. He waited until just before the deadline to opt in. And the only reason he did it, is because no other team in the NBA wanted to give him the 4-year max deal he wanted. Not the Rockets, or any other team he was connected to.  

    His value is at an all-time low. There is not a GM out there who wanted to give him the 4-year max he wanted. Because if there was one, he would not be here. So why do people expect the Sixers to open up the wallet for him? Maybe if he played better, he’d have the deal he wants. It’s not the Sixers’ fault no one wants him. That’s on Harden for years of underperforming when it matters. 

  • Had One Foot Out The Door All-Season Long

    The Sixers actually looked very good in the regular season last year. Early on they had injury issues. But Post-Christmas, they were one of the best teams in the NBA record-wise and stats-wise. And yet, all season all we heard from Harden’s camp is how he might want to leave this offseason. Once a month Woj put out that story about how Harden is mulling a return to Houston. And that was clearly coming from Harden’s camp. 

    Turns out Houston never wanted him. But it is the fact he was never committed to the Sixers to begin with that makes him look bad. They were in the playoffs, and he already had his eyes set on Houston. What did he gain from leaking that story constantly? It’s fine if that is where he wanted to go, he has a history there. But why constantly put it out there? And he wonders why no teams want him around. 

  • No One Wants To Trade For Him Either

    Speaking of him having no value, people don’t even want him in a trade on the one-year deal. If there was a trade worth making out there, the Sixers would have made it already. The problem is Harden only wants to go to the Clippers, and the Clippers don’t value him enough to give anything real up for him. Marcus Morris and Robert Covington? Is Harden not embarrassed that is what his value is at this point.  

    The Sixers can’t even get them to put Norman Powell in the deal. And no other team seems to have much interest in him either. The Sixers aren’t just going to ship him off for nothing. Morris and Covington aren’t going to turn the Sixers into contenders.  

    If he really wants to move he could agree to go to more than just the Clippers. But heaven forbid Harden doesn’t get exactly what he wants no matter what. He could get what he wants if he was just a little bit less selfish.

  • Keeps Getting Divorces, Yet Acts Like It Is Not His Fault

    Harden forced his way out of Houston. They were a team going in the wrong direction, and he was looking to win still. Fair enough. Then he forced his way out of Brooklyn. Given how they continued to implode after him, again, fair enough. But now for a 3rd time, he is forcing his way out.  

    At a certain point, if you keep getting divorced, it makes me think you were a bad husband or wife, and not that you just have poor taste in partners. Why would any team want a guy when there is a very good chance he will change his mind and want out a year or two later?

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