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August 22, 2023

James Harden fined $100K by NBA for Daryl Morey, Sixers comments

The NBA took exception to Harden's public comments regarding his displeasure with the Sixers and president of basketball ops Daryl Morey.

James Harden is still, begrudgingly, a Sixer, and now he's out $100K too. 

After launching an inquiry into Harden and the Sixers over the weekend, the NBA announced Tuesday that they have fined the 10-time All-Star $100,000 for public comments pointed at Sixers' president Daryl Morey and his inability to trade Harden out of Philadelphia. 

Mainly, it was the comments made at an Adidas Basketball event in China, where Harden said Morey was "a liar" and refused to ever play for an organization he was a part of again, which caught the league's curiosity as to what exactly he meant by that after making the choice to pick up his 2023-24 player option.

The full press release from the league:

The NBA announced today that Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden has been fined $100,000 by the NBA for public comments on August 14 and 17 indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team.  The league’s investigation, which included an interview of Harden, confirmed that these comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not accommodate his request to be traded.
Harden picked up his player option with the Sixers back at the end of June, but only with the understanding that Morey and the front office would work with him to facilitate a trade. 

But the summer went by, little progress was made, the Sixers even pulled back on trade talks, and Harden grew impatient

Per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday, Harden told NBA investigators that the "liar" comments regarding Morey stemmed from a failure to trade him "quickly" after opting in, but that explanation doesn't seem to have held much water based on the fine. 

On the Sixers' side, a trade doesn't seem any closer to happening and the organization is holding on to an expectation that Harden will still report for training camp in September, even though the situation only seems to be growing more tense. 

Throughout, Morey has held strong to the stance that he'll only execute a Harden trade when the return runs in line with title aspirations the Sixers are hoping to keep alive with Joel Embiid at the forefront, but so far an offer hasn't appeared to have been made anywhere close to that level.

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