Skip to main content

James Harden’s surprise decision reportedly payback after 76ers snubbed him for weeks

It seems that while James Harden’s surprise decision to opt in and seek a trade was likely done to improve his options for next season, it was also done after the Philadelphia 76ers gave him the “silent” treatment before a possible move into free agency.

James Harden stunned the basketball world on Thursday when he defied all the expectations of his offseason plans by opting into the final year of his Philadelphia 76ers contract. However, he didn’t do so to again try and win a championship with Joel Embiid. No, instead he is now reportedly working with the team to find a new home for the 2023-2024 season.

Related: NBA trade rumors – Latest on Damian Lillard, Jaylen Brown, and more

It was a shocking move, but when digging deeper into the situation, it made some sense since the options on the free-agent market would likely not bring the future Hall-of-Famer to a championship contender or the money he wanted this summer. However, in a trade market the 76ers won’t lose him for nothing and James Harden has a better chance of landing with a legitimate contender.

Apparent disrespect from the 76ers led to James Harden trade request

james harden
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

However, it seems there is far more to the situation than just broadening horizons. On Thursday night, The Athletic’s NBA reporter Sam Amick spilled a whole bunch of interesting tea that lead to the surprising situation of James Harden staying in Philadelphia, but really not.

Sources claim that the 10-time All-Star was “extremely upset” over how the Philadelphia 76ers handled his possible free agency over the last few weeks. A round of “silent Sixers signals” allegedly wrangled Harden and was key in him realizing playing elsewhere was his preference for next season.

Harden reportedly expected to be handsomely rewarded for giving Philadelphia a bargain deal in the first year of the two-year contract that he signed last summer. Unfortunately, all indications were that the 76ers were more than willing to let him test the market if he opted out and hopefully land a more team-friendly deal when he realized the options weren’t that great in NBA free agency.

Furthermore, word is that the Houston Rockets — believed to be the top contender for Harden — had removed themselves from a potential market weeks ago despite recent rumors. And after being investigated for various moves last season, 76ers general manager Daryl Morey was reportedly tight-lipped on showing his hand on a possible deal for Harden until he actually hit the open market.

“Morey’s choice to keep Harden and his camp in the dark regarding the Sixers’ plans had everything to do with Harden’s choice to ask out,” Amick reported. Yet now, James Harden has put Morey in the same position he was in with the Rockets when the one-time MVP also forced his way out of town with Morey as his boss.

Essentially, the “disrespect” the 76ers brass showed Harden in recent weeks has now led to them having an unhappy star signed for next season and being forced to trade him for a return that could or could not be of equal value for him, since he will surely have a say in his next destination. Which is reportedly supposed to be the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: