This was a great week for James Harden. He no longer has to play for the Phliadelphia 76ers, who traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in the early hours of Tuesday morning in a blockbuster deal, and he no longer has to work with his former friend, Daryl Morey.
Throughout training camp and the beginning of the regular season, all the communication the Sixers had with Harden’s camp ran through his agent, Michael Silverman, according to Ramona Shelbourne. That may be the closest Morey ever gets to contacting Harden again.
Harden feels very differently about the dissolution of their basketball marriage. He hasn’t spoken to Morey in months, sources told ESPN. He has told associates he doesn’t intend to speak to him ever again.
“This is not even about this situation,” Harden told reporters in Philadelphia on Oct. 13, his only public comments during his short-lived stint in Sixers training camp. “This is in life. When you lose trust in someone, it’s like a marriage. You lose trust in someone.”
Harden could have become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but it quickly became clear that the contract he was hoping for was not there. While the Sixers would have reportedly offered him max money, it was only a two-year deal with a team option for the second season. Instead, Harden decided to pick up his $35.6 million player option and ask for a trade — specifically to the Clippers.
As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, Harden became frustrated. He lashed out in public, repeatedly calling Morey a “liar.” First, at an event in China, and later by way of a sign in a club. While in China, Harden also said he would “never be part of an organization that he’s a part of,” which helped earn him a $100,000 fine from the league.
Harden then skipped the Sixers’ media day, participated sparingly in training camp and did not play a single minute in the preseason. When he finally returned to Philadelphia ahead of the team’s season opener versus the Milwaukee Bucks, he was told he could not travel with the team, which was the final straw between all parties.
In the end, Harden’s plan to make the situation uncomfortable forced the organization’s hand, and got him a trade to the Clippers. It appears it also brought a permanent end to his relationship with Morey.