James Harden fired the latest salvo in his ongoing war with Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers this week.
Earlier this summer, Harden made it clear that he wanted Philly to trade him. He explained why in great detail.
The Sixers responded by agreeing to move him, but for a steep asking price. The Los Angeles Clippers emerged as legit suitors for him, but have consistently refused to include two key role players in conversations.
For the first few days of training camp, it seemed like Harden was willing to play the role of the good soldier. But on Wednesday that changed. The former league MVP opted to boycott 76ers practice – leading to all hell breaking loose.
Joel Embiid offered his take on Harden’s decision, but the front office initially remained relatively quiet. Finally, after a few hours of debate about how they would respond, it came out that the organization was considering hitting Harden with a hefty fine.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, “Harden could be subjected to a $389,082 fine for every preseason and regular season game he misses without the consent of the team.”
That being said, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Philly will “give Harden the chance to explain this ‘unexcused absence’ before deciding how to handle any punishment.”
Seeing as Harden’s explanation for boycotting Sixers practice figures to mostly be constructed around the idea that he didn’t want to show up, a fine is almost certainly coming.
Philly has obviously played this game once before with Ben Simmons. They know the ropes. But it is worth asking why the 76ers continue to find themselves in this position.
Yes, Harden has a history of being a prima donna. Sure, he is increasingly not worth the hassle that accompanies him.
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All of that is undeniable.
At a certain point, though – it is impossible to ignore how poorly Morey and the 76ers have mishandled the talent at their disposal.
What will the consequences of everyone’s actions ultimately prove to be when everything is said and done? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.