The relationship between Philadelphia 76ers player James Harden and general manager Daryl Morey is deteriorating right in front of our eyes.
During a trip to China on Monday, and in front of an audience with their phones recording, Harden let it rip on Morey, calling him a “liar” and declaring he’s done with the Sixers as long as Morey is there.
“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s 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’s a part of.”
Harden said it twice, so you know he means it.
It’s possible Harden could be reacting to Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Sixers want to bring him back for the upcoming season and will be ending trade talks. After Morey and the Sixers didn’t give Harden the long term max contract he was looking for early in the offseason, both parties reportedly agreed in June that Harden would pick up his $35 million player option while the Sixers worked on a trade to get him out of town. Harden was reportedly focused on landing with the Los Angeles Clippers, but a trade never materialized.
Morey and Harden have a history that started before they joined forces on the Sixers in 2022. They spent years together as GM and player on the Houston Rockets, and were very close. So close, in fact, that when Morey left the Rockets in 2020, he took out a full-page ad in the newspaper that had a picture of Harden and Morey at the top, and featured this five-word sentence in bold: “James Harden changed my life.”
Harden is still changing Morey’s life, but probably not in the way Morey wants. This situation is already not great for the Sixers, but it could get even worse if Harden decides not to report to training camp. According to the collective bargaining agreement, if Harden decides to hold out through the first month of the season, he could lose his free agent status next offseason.
When or if this situation is resolved, the chances are slim that anyone will be happy with the result. Meanwhile, Sixers fans are wondering how the 2023-24 season has hit rock bottom before it’s even begun.