The drama between James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers organization continues to drag on.
The star guard called general manager Daryl Morey “a liar” earlier this week and said on Thursday that he thinks it’s too late to repair his relationship with the team.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of Audacy’s original podcast “Clap Your Hands” was joined by John Gonzalez to discuss the Harden drama and pointed out that it certainly does sound like Morey lied to the star guard.
“It really sounds, to me, like Daryl Morey did lie to James Harden,” Shorr-Parks said (5:30 in player above). “We all agreed last offseason he took a pay cut. That was certainly what both camps were spinning. James took less so they could sign P.J. Tucker and the Sixers were doing the whole ‘Wow, what a winner. This guy is such a great teammate.’”
Harden may have just been a good teammate last offseason, or he could’ve been promised some sort of deal for this offseason.
“I just find it very hard to believe that James Harden willingly took less money last offseason without thinking it was going to come back on the other end,” Shorr-Parks continued. “We don’t know what was said in that room. We don’t know if it was a firm like ‘here’s the number’ or ‘I’m going to take care of you’ thing. But why would James take less money actually if he didn’t think he was going to get it on the backend?”
Shorr-Parks fully understands how Harden is feeling.
“The way he talks about it, calling him a liar, saying he’ll never play for him – he clearly is a man scorned. He’s very upset about this as I would be if I thought that someone was going to give me all this money and then didn’t,” he continued. “I feel like the bottom line base of this is Daryl Morey does not want to pay James Harden. If Daryl wanted to pay him, he would’ve talked to him prior to free agency. He would’ve given him the money. He would’ve made sure it happened.”
However, it might not just be Morey who doesn’t want to pay Harden. He could’ve opted out of his deal with the Sixers to hit the open market.
“You said Daryl Morey doesn’t want to pay James Harden. I would add a caveat: nobody wants to pay James Harden! James Harden isn’t owed anything,” Gonzalez said. “If he says I’m going to take a pay cut so that you can sign some extra players and then we’ll figure out a deal down the line.
“OK, when you get down the line, what’s the market for James Harden? The answer is evidently not very good. He’s leaking all this stuff about going back to Houston. If Houston wanted him, he’d be there. Guess who’s there? Fred Van Fleet, not James Harden.”