Marbury spent a huge chunk of his playing career in the Chinese Basketball Association (from 2010 to 2018), where he established himself as one of its best players. He is currently coaching in the league for the Beijing Royal Fighters. With that said, he's naturally ecstatic to hear another NBA superstar express interest in playing in the nation.
While Marbury admitted that it might be hard for it to happen soon (or ever) since Harden is likely to land another big contract in the NBA, he's just happy that the 2018 MVP is keeping his doors open on the possibility.
“It's always good to see guys from the NBA try China and play. It would be good for basketball to see James play in China. It's basketball, it's an opportunity to play. But I don't think he's coming. I think he's gonna get another big contract in the NBA though,” Marbury told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports.
For those who missed it, James Harden made headlines on Wednesday when he expressed his openness to play in China. He cited that with his incredible fan base in the nation, he felt like that it would only be right to suit up and star in the nation's top basketball league some time in the future.
“Every time I come here, the love is just like … it's crazy, you know what I mean? So I feel like they deserve to actually see me come play here,” Harden revealed.
James Harden's Sixers drama
As Stephon Marbury said, it's hard to see James Harden coming to China any time soon. He just picked up his his $35.6 million option for the 2023-24 season, and at 33 years old, there's no doubt he has plenty of NBA basketball left in him.
Furthermore, it's likely Harden is not thinking what's beyond the upcoming season or even this offseason. This is amid the controversy he's involved with the Sixers.
To recall, Harden requested a trade away from Philly. And while he picked up his option with the team, he did so with the expectation that the Sixers would trade him. He only picked up his option since there's no team who has the cap space to sign him directly, so he has to be traded. Not to mention that he has a specific team in mind that he wants to join: the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, the Sixers have refused to deal him away. Most recently, the team reportedly ended the trade talks for Harden and expressed their plan to bring him to training camp, which infuriated the superstar guard. In fact, Harden was unhappy with the decision that he even called out team exec Daryl Morey while on his China tour and called him a “liar.”
“Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he is a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he is a part of,” Harden emphasized.
James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”
James Harden and Daryl Moreys relationship went from that to this in the space of 3 years. Basketball is a crazy business. Sad to see.
— arj (@hooparj) August 14, 2023
Harden is doing his best to force his way out of the Sixers, and it's unlikely that he's done. The expectation is he'll make the situation as awkward as possible for Philly that they will have no other choice but to move him away, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
“Somebody told me yesterday that this is just the beginning of what James Harden is going to do to make life very uncomfortable for the Philadelphia 76ers going into training camp,” ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added on the situation.
It remains to be seen what Harden's next move will be. He has already returned to the US following his China tour, so everyone should get a sense of what he's going to do soon. Daryl Morey and co. have yet to address the situation as well, and perhaps they are simply waiting for their superstar to return in order to talk to him and discuss what the future holds.
Clearly, however, we are already at the point of no return when it comes to Harden and the Sixers' relationship. There's just no way they can resolve it after Harden himself said he's never going to play for a team that Morey is part of.
With that said, it'll be interesting to see how both parties will handle the situation. As for Sixers fans, all they can do is wait right now and hope for the best for the organization.