The Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden trade saga of 2023 reached its most fiery point on Monday morning when the Beard let loose on Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey during a tour in China for Adidas. Harden called Morey a “liar”, saying that he'll never play for the team as long as he's at the helm of the front office.
Clearly the battle for leverage continues, as Harden remains hell-bent on forcing a move out of Philadelphia, preferably towards the Los Angeles Clippers. But even with Harden's latest declaration of his intent to wage war against the Sixers front office, it seems like Morey and company remain unmoved.
Per Jason Dumas of Bleacher Report, Daryl Morey is “unmoved” by James Harden's comments and that he is “holding firm” in his and the Sixers' stance of trying to come up with a more amicable solution to the problem they're currently dealing with.
Of course, finding an amicable solution involves finding a suitable trade for Harden that won't gut the Sixers' championship chances. But given the drama Harden has caused in recent months, it seems rather unlikely that this partnership won't end with both parties getting what they want.
The Sixers, instead of giving into James Harden's demands, want to bring in the 10-time All-Star into training camp and try to re-integrate him into the team to continue a fruitful partnership with reigning MVP Joel Embiid. However, Harden reportedly has no interest in taking part in training camp, which will certainly draw the attention of the powers that be from the league office.
Even if the league forces James Harden to report to the Sixers' training camp, there's a chance that The Beard decides not to give his 100 percent on the court. As one would recall, Harden appeared to be overweight in late 2020 for the Houston Rockets, which helped him force a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
This is certainly a battle of which party blinks first. At this point, both have strong points of leverage that they could use to gain an advantage. Only time will tell whether it's the Sixers or Harden who achieves their intended goal.