James Harden was hit with a $100,000 punishment for publicly criticizing Daryl Morey. James Harden’s public tirade at Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey is not going unpunished.
While on a recent trip to China, the All-Star guard referred to the Sixers executive as a liar, and he has since been fined $100,000 for his remarks. Given that the two were allegedly involved in an unlawful handshake deal last summer, Harden’s public rage opened the door for an NBA investigation.
Last season, Harden returned to the Sixers in free agency at a hefty salary cut so they could sign free agents like PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. According to rumors, Morey was ready to give him a maximum contract this offseason.
But Harden decided to use his $35.6 million player option, which strained his relationship with Morey. Here is what Harden said about Morey that led to a $100,000 fine being imposed on him.
“Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never join a group that he is a member of. I’ll say it again: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never work for or with a company that he founded.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Harden will pay a $100,000 fine. What Wojnarowski wrote is as follows: According to sources speaking to ESPN, the NBA has fined Sixers player James Harden $100,000 for his recent remarks labeling team president Daryl Morey a “liar.”
James Harden denied any allegations of misconduct about his alleged handshake agreement with Daryl Morey, which would have guaranteed him a maximum salary this summer. After choosing to sign his $35.6 million contract, Harden reportedly informed the league’s investigators that Morey promised to trade him.
But the 76ers haven’t made much progress in a deal so far, which might have prompted Harden’s response. He is not required to be traded by the deadline for the Sixers. The former MVP, who joined from the Brooklyn Nets at the 2022 trade deadline, is being exchanged for the greatest possible deal.
According to reports, the LA Clippers are his lone prospective employer. The reason for Harden’s fine appears to be his answer to the investigators. In a statement, the NBA said that the athlete “would not perform the services required under his player contract.”
After openly declaring he wouldn’t play for Daryl Morey’s teams again, James Harden received the highest sanction the league can impose on a player. Harden erred in that regard. You are unable to take the stage on a huge platform, effectively seize the microphone, and begin refusing to play for the team you have a contract with.
The NBA needs to control this at least a little bit. One thing is player empowerment; another is utter manipulation and blatant disregard for contracts, which unquestionably fit within the definition of “statements detrimental to basketball, the NBA, or a team.”
The NBA then started looking into Harden’s remarks to see whether calling Morey a liar may have been a reference to their handshake agreement when Harden accepted a lower contract last summer. Did Morey promise Harden that a long-term contract would atone for his transgressions this summer? If so, this could be considered a wink-wink way of getting around the pay cap.
Instead, the probe led to Harden stating that his liar comment was in relation to Morey “telling Harden he will trade him quickly following the $35.6 million opt-in for the 2023-24 season,” according to The Athletic.
As a result, Harden thought he was only consenting to be dealt, and the Sixers’ position at the moment is that they do not intend to do so. Such are the breaks for Harden when nobody else, most notably the Clippers, cares about you enough to make Morey a fair trade offer.
Never mind the irony of a man labeling someone else a liar who has already walked out—or is attempting to —on three different organizations with whom he was under contract. Harden made a pretty obvious commitment to give his all to that team when he signed those contracts. Has he kept his promise?
He would say that things have changed since he signed those contracts. The Sixers’ circumstances have also shifted.
Simply put, Harden’s value is in the dumps. After this season, he can walk. In Games 6 and 7 of the conference semifinal matchup against Boston last season, he flamed out again just when the Sixers needed him the most. As he has already done three times — first in Houston, then in Brooklyn, and now Philadelphia — he very plainly poses a constant danger to up and push his way out of a contract, ruining your team.
Oh, and he’s approaching the age of 34 and isn’t quite the player he once was. He no longer has the influence he believes he does, or at least not in the same way. His best course of action is to swallow his ego, return to the Sixers, and give them everything he has for one more season.
If he performs well and doesn’t cause any problems, he could be able to reclaim some of his value and have his agent start looking for innovative agreements next summer in order to land him with one more long-term contract.
Or he can be obstinate and try to cause Morey enough trouble to give in. Not something I would anticipate happening. With the Simmons affair, Morey demonstrated his ability to maintain eye contact with the best of them. Therefore, pay attention.
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