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James Harden expected to make things ‘painful’ for Philadelphia 76ers moving forward

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has a history of finding ways to make life difficult on his current team in order to face a trade. With NBA training camp beginning, it appears Harden is ready to do that again to force his way out of Philadelphia.

Shortly after exercising his $33.6 million player option for the 2023-’24 NBA season, Harden demanded a trade. The former NBA MVP was extremely disgruntled, upset at the franchise for not signing him to a contract extension. He later called Daryl Morey a liar and vowed to never play for him again.

Related: Los Angeles Clippers backed off James Harden trade

While Philadelphia explored its trade options, reports surfaced that the asking price was far too high for teams to meet. The New York Knicks were quickly ruled out as a suitor and even after Damian Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat only had limited interest in Harden.

As a result, the perennial All-Star guard remains on the 76ers’ roster with training camp beginning. As the upcoming NBA season draws, it appears the veteran is prepared to make things difficult for his team and the front office knows it’s coming.

During an appearance on NBA TV from the 76ers’ training camp, reporter Jared Greenberg said that Philadelphia is prepared as if Harden will report to practice and make things extremely difficult for the organization.

“While it is unclear what Harden’s next steps will be, it has been made clear to me by one high-ranking official that the Sixers would not be surprised—in fact they expect—Harden to show up at some point and make it ‘painful’ for the organization.”

Jared Greenberg on Philadelphia 76ers situation with James Harden

Related: Philadelphia 76ers hold key piece of leverage over James Harden

  • James Harden contract: $35.6 million salary (2023-’24), 2024 NBA free agent

Harden is no stranger to finding ways to force his way off a team. During his final weeks with the Houston Rockets, Harden’s behavior around the team, his actions off the court and his commentary to reporters were all done with the intention of getting the trade he wanted.

Less than two years after being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he wanted to play, Harden forced his way out again and drew complaints for playing up an injury that seemed to go away once he was traded to Philadelphia.

Now, Morey and the 76ers’ front office are preparing to deal with the same complications that helped them land Harden in the first place. While Harden’s tactics have worked for him in the past, it might prove more challenging this year with the Clippers’ interest conditional and many other NBA teams cautious about acquiring him.

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