Top Stories

James Harden has harsh words for 76ers' president

James Harden voiced his unhappiness with team president Daryl Morey during a press event Monday in China.

James Harden’s trade request will reportedly go unfulfilled heading into the 2023-24 season.

Just days after James Harden’s desire to be dealt was reportedly ended by the Philadelphia 76ers, the star guard had words for team president Daryl Morey.

In answering questions in China during an Adidas press event on Monday, Harden made his feelings about Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey known.

Harden was asked by an individual in the crowd, “What do you think about the current team claiming to end trade talks and trying to bring you back to the team?” His answer was more than candid.

“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden said. “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

Days after that interview, Harden spoke with KHOU-11 in Houston, where he was in town for a charity event. When asked if his relationship with the 76ers is beyond repair, Harden said: “I think so.”

“I’ve been patient all summer,” said Harden, who was practicing softball at Houston’s Yates High School. “For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday that the 76ers were ending trade talks for Harden despite his “emphatic” desire to be traded, which was reportedly made known months ago.

The 76ers had hoped Harden would, along with now-reigning Kia MVP Joel Embiid, help the franchise advance to at least the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. Instead, Philadelphia has lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals each of the last two seasons, including its most recent 4-3 defeat to Boston after leading the series 3-2.

Harden scored 45 points in Game 1 and 42 in Game 4 victories against the Celtics. Harden and was 0 for 6 on 3s in Game 2 and Game 6 losses. He scored only nine points in Game 7, and he went scoreless in the second half.

After blossoming as a perennial MVP candidate (and an MVP) with the Houston Rockets, Harden’s production has been scaled back while playing alongside Kevin Durant in Brooklyn and now Embiid in Philadelphia.

Still, the three-time scoring leader and two-time assists leader has averaged at least 20 points and 10 assists in each of the last three seasons since leaving the Rockets, including a league-leading 10.7 assists per game last year. His 38.5% clip from 3-point range was his best since 2011-12, when he starred for a young and upcoming Oklahoma City team featuring a trio of future MVPs in Harden, Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Wojnarowski adds that though Harden has been adamant about being traded this offseason, the 76ers “wouldn’t make a trade that they believed would compromise their title hopes.”

In the offseason, Harden opted into his contract for next season for $35.6 million. The 33-year-old Harden could have declined the option and decided to try free agency. The Sixers had the right to offer him a $210 million, four-year deal, $8 million more overall than any other team.

Should a trade of Harden take place, this would mark his third trade since he requested a trade from the Houston Rockets in February 2021.

The 76ers have been down this road before when former No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons demanded a trade after his relationship soured with former coach Doc Rivers and others in the organization. Simmons caused a disruption in training camp in 2021, never played for the Sixers that season and eventually was traded for Harden.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.