76ers Not Allowing James Harden On Plane Was ‘Final Straw’ In Team’s Efforts To Reincorporate Him

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA trade rumors, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Analysis Network

James Harden wanted to fly with the Philadelphia 76ers to Milwaukee for the first game of the season. However, the Sixers’ security team stopped Harden, and according to NBA insider Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, that was the “final straw” in the team’s efforts to reincorporate Harden.

Two days later, trade discussions with the Los Angeles Clippers picked up again and a path to final separation began to emerge. The Sixers traded Harden, PJ Tucker and Filip Petrusev to the Clippers for Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nicolas Batum, Kenyon Martin Jr., a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and an additional first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden has told associates he doesn’t intend to speak to Sixers president Daryl Morey ever again, according to Shelburne. Harden used to have a close relationship with Morey. However, everything changed this past offseason.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

“According to league sources, Harden and his camp became convinced Morey intended to offer him only a two-year deal, with a team option on the second season, if he declined his $35.6 million player option and became a free agent at the end of June — essentially turning Harden into a year-to-year player,” Shelburne wrote. “The Sixers insisted to him that they would make him a strong offer as soon as they were allowed to, and to not mistake their caution over tampering rules for lack of interest.”

Harden believed Morey would trade him to the Clippers after he requested a trade in June. The 10-time All-Star grew increasingly frustrated when a trade didn’t happen.

In August, Harden called Morey a “liar” during his China tour with Adidas and strategizing how to make the Sixers as “uncomfortable as possible,” per Shelburne.

Harden has career averages of 24.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists with the Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and Sixers. He has made seven All-NBA teams and has won three scoring titles, two assists titles and one MVP Award.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

The Sixers will try to make another blockbuster trade with the assets they acquired for Harden. Meanwhile, the Clippers now have a “Big 4” of Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

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