Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris has weighed in on the James Harden situation. While speaking during a press conference ahead of a Washington Commanders — another team he recently purchased — preseason NFL game, Harris gave his insight on Harden’s trade request, and how he wishes to convince the All-Star guard to stay in Philadelphia.
“Listen, we’re hard at work,” Harris said. “I respect James. I want to, obviously, accommodate what he wants. At the same time, I have to think about a championship-contending team, what we can get back. I’d love to convince him to stay. I understand that that’s not what he wants to do right now.”
Harris’ remarks came a day before Harden was fined $100,000 by the NBA for comments “indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team.”
Harris’ comments echo what Sixers president Daryl Morey has said recently in wanting to get the best return if the team trades Harden. However, the timeline of that trade is certainly taking longer than Harden would like, which is what reportedly led him to call Morey “a liar.” Harden told the league office — which opened an investigation into Harden’s comments — that those comments stemmed from Morey telling him that he would be traded “quickly” after he requested the trade. That obviously hasn’t happened, which resulted in Harden saying during an event in China that he would never play for a team ran by Morey.
The Sixers and Harden are now in a standoff, with Philadelphia calling off trade talks with the Clippers with the intention of bringing the disgruntled star into training camp. But given Harden’s comments, which more recently includes saying that his relationship with the team is beyond repair, that isn’t the ideal situation for either side. Despite no trade being on the horizon at the moment, Harris said that he will work to find the best solution for everyone involved.
“I’m going to keep working to resolve it in a way that everyone can live with and is positive for everyone, whatever that resolution is,” Harris said. “… I respect him as a basketball player, and as a person. It’s back to, these are, you’re dealing with people, right? And you’ve got to be there. We’ll see where it comes out.”
Time will tell if Harris is able to change Harden’s mind, but right now it doesn’t seem like he wants to go down that route. But with training camp opening Oct. 3, the Sixers still have a good chunk of time to resolve this situation before things get really uncomfortable.