It turns out that James Harden may not be totally done with the Philadelphia 76ers after all. Despite a prolonged feud with the Sixers after demanding a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, he is showing up to the team's training camp after previous speculation that he would not.
Harden was not at the Sixers' media day on Monday but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Harden is on his way to the team's training camp at Colorado State University after missing the first practice of camp. Team president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told reporters that he expected Harden to be in attendance there as the Sixers prepare for the 2023-24 season.
Acknowledging Harden's absence from media day at the Sixers' New Jersey practice facility, Morey said that the star guard “continues to seek a trade and we're working with his representation to resolve that in the best way for the 76ers and hopefully all parties.”
When asked if he knew Harden's status for training camp, Morey said that the Sixers “expect him to participate in everything like every other player.” Patrick Beverley, one of Philly’s offseason additions and a former teammate of Harden, said that the team is happy for his arrival.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) October 3, 2023
It was rumored that James Harden would show up to the Sixers training camp with the intention of making things difficult for the team. Despite a contemptuous offseason between Philly and Harden, he has remained in good standing with teammates and several of them voiced a desire for the 34-year-old guard to return to the team. Nick Nurse and many players stated that they would have to be ready to play with or without him.
The Sixers, of course, know what it's like to have a star seeking a trade show up to practice before the season. Two years ago, Ben Simmons made an appearance at an October practice but was subsequently thrown out and suspended a game for conduct detrimental to the team. He was eventually traded in the blockbuster deal that brought Harden to Philly. Harden also skipped training camp in 2020 when he sought to be traded away by the Houston Rockets.
The Sixers open their 2023-24 season on Thursday, October 26 against the Milwaukee Bucks. Their first preseason game is on Sunday, October 8 against the Boston Celtics.
UPDATE: Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Harden arrived in Colorado on Tuesday night and that “there’s a hope that he will join the 76ers for Wednesday’s training camp.” While he made his way to Fort Collins, the Sixers traveled to Boulder to visit Deion Sanders and the Colorado football team.