James Harden arrives at 76ers training camp despite trade request

James Harden’s self-imposed banishment from the Philadelphia 76ers ended Wednesday when the disgruntled guard reported to the team’s training camp in Colorado.

After repeatedly threatening in August to “never be a part of an organization” that employed 76ers president Daryl Morey over a dispute over his unfulfilled offseason trade request, the 10-time All-Star skipped Monday’s team media day and its first Day out of training camp on Tuesday. But Harden, who has sought a move to the Los Angeles Clippers, joined the 76ers camp at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on Wednesday.

“He looked good,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse told reporters. “He was largely involved in it. He appeared to be in good physical condition. I spoke to him before training. But when that was over – it was right before training – we went straight in, the whistle blew and we got straight to work. … He is here. He knows the schedule. We expect him to be here now.”

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Philadelphia is seeking its seventh straight playoff appearance with reigning MVP Joel Embiid. Harden is the primary playmaker on a veteran roster that also includes Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, PJ Tucker and Patrick Beverley. The 76ers won 54 games last season to finish as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games in the second round of the playoffs.

“[Harden] “I don’t have to be truthful about myself or anyone else,” Harris told reporters. “He’s here. His attitude and energy made everyone understand that he wants to go out and compete with us and get things done. In my opinion, that’s really all that matters. … Everyone here understands what it’s about. He’s here not respecting his teammates in any way.”

Harden, 34, averaged 21 points, 6.1 rebounds and a league-leading 10.7 assists last season, but the 76ers lost in the conference semifinals for the third straight year. Facing a big payday in free agency, Harden opted to exercise his $35.6 million player option and request a trade rather than enter free agency. Morey, who was only interested in trading Harden if the return package boosted Philadelphia’s hopes of competing, was unable to find a deal.

The NBA fined Harden $100,000 for his pointed comments about Morey, which included calling the longtime NBA executive a “liar.” That bad blood set the stage for this week’s standoff, which came two years after the 76ers’ similar standoff with disgruntled guard Ben Simmons, who was ultimately traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Harden in February 2022.

Morey acknowledged at media day that the 76ers face “a lot of skepticism” because of the Harden saga and defended his own reputation as a professional.

“[Harden] said what he meant,” Morey said. “I haven’t responded to that because I think it’s completely topsy-turvy. In the 20 years I’ve been working in the league, I’ve always done everything. Every top agent knows this. Everyone in the league knows it. Without that, you can’t do this job. … It’s disappointing that he chose to handle it this way.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/10/04/james-harden-training-camp/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_homepage James Harden arrives at 76ers training camp despite trade request

Ian Walker

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