The Philadelphia 76ers' stalemate with James Harden appears to have no resolution in sight, the bridge incinerated into ashes long before The Beard went missing during the team's media day. Harden memorably went scorched earth when he was on tour in China, straight up calling Sixers president Daryl Morey a liar by not accommodating his trade request after the two sides had a wink-wink agreement that Harden will receive his trade (preferably to the Los Angeles Clippers) should he accept his player option.
But it seems like Harden's resentment towards Morey and the Sixers organization runs deeper than the lack of urgency in trade talks. Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports shed more light on the true reason why The Beard let this situation turn this ugly, beginning with the way Harden perceived the Sixers' lack of urgency to give him his desired contract as a major slight.
“People in touch with Harden say that focusing on the exact numbers misses the point. No, they maintain, what angered Harden the most, what hurt him the most, was that Sixers never actually did make clear that they wanted him back,” Weitzman wrote. “It's just that with Houston out of the [free agency] picture, they say, Morey spotted an opportunity to apply some leverage and couldn't help himself.”
NBA fans will know that it was Daryl Morey who plucked James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder, sharing eight successful years with the Houston Rockets. Thus, there was an existing relationship between the two. However, Harden felt like Morey didn't treat him in a way that honors that.
“Harden's position now is that if Morey had treated him and their shared history with the respect he and it deserves, especially considering the pay cut he took just one year earlier, a compromise of a deal could have been reached,” Weitzman added.
James Harden may be an easy target for criticism these days given how much disregard he has for his public perception. But it's only fair for the Sixers to take a look at the mirror and see just how responsible they are for completely alienating the team's second-best player.