NBA Superstar James Harden has caused quite a stir this offseason for the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers. After blowing a 3-2 lead to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals the team decided to make changes. They began by firing head coach Doc Rivers and hiring former Raptor’s head coach, Nick Nurse, as his replacement. Rivers received a lot of blame for the loss from the media and when asked about his relationship with Doc Rivers, Harden responded “It’s fine”.
Throughout the entire summer of 2023, he would voice his dissatisfaction with the front office, particularly with the President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Mory, the former General Manager for the Houston Rockets. Harden played under Mory during his 9-year tenure for the Rockets, but their relationship hasn’t been good lately. During a meet and greet with his fans in China, he called Mory a “Liar” claiming things were not good between him and the front office.
Harden still has a player option worth 36.9 million for 1 more year with Philadelphia after the Sixers accepted his 2-year contract from the Nets, but he has voiced a desire for a trade. Harden did the same thing in Brooklyn with the Nets when he said: “Philadelphia was the place I’ve always wanted to be.” during his press conference when he arrived in the city.
The Clippers will be the 3rd team Harden has been on in 3 years if Mory decides to trade him. Only time will tell if Harden is granted his wish, and if so he will help the Clippers tremendously with their playmaking issues. Harden can still perform at a high level even though he's entering the later stages of his career.
Last season his averages were 21 PPG and 6 RPG, and he led the league with 10.7 Assists. The stats still look good, and his percentages are relatively high after shooting 38% from three this past season. He just turned 34 on August 26th, and we will have to see during this upcoming season if he will decline.
He is going into his 15th NBA season and is still chasing his first NBA championship after making it to the NBA Finals once in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder and losing to the Heat in 5 games. He made the Western Conference semi-finals in 2019, but his co-star Chris Paul tore his hamstring and they lost the series to the Warriors 4-2.
Training camp has started around the league, and there have been rumors of Harden linked to the Clippers, but nothing has materialized. If he is not traded he will have to suit up to play for Philadelphia under Nick Nurse. He decided not to show up for the Sixers media day and this has only added to the rebellion James had against the front office this past offseason. Only time will tell how the Harden saga will end and now that it is October we will have that answer very soon.