The 76ers will still only trade star guard James Harden for players that will keep them in contention despite his recent comments about head of basketball operations Daryl Morey, per Marc Stein of The Stein Line.
As we relayed here, Harden called Morey “a liar,” adding that he would never play for the Sixers as long as Morey is running things. Nonetheless, it appears the Sixers’ stance has not changed — and they “remain determined to trade Harden only if they find a deal that keeps them in the title mix,” Stein reported.
Harden, who turns 34 at the end of August, picked up the $35.6 million option on his contract after the season, then immediately demanded a trade.
“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden told a crowd at an Adidas event in China. “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 was responding to a question from someone in the crowd who asked, “What do you think about the (Sixers) claiming to end trade talks and trying to bring you back to the team?”
According to multiple reports, Harden requested a trade specifically to the Clippers. And while the teams talked, they reportedly have never come close to reaching a deal.
Per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (via ESPN’s Bobby Marks), a player withholding services from his team for more than 30 days “shall be deemed not to have complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder.”
So should Harden not report to Philadelphia next season, he would not be eligible to sign with another team in free agency next summer without the Sixers’ consent.