“To the fans, I appreciate the support and love,” Harden said. “It’s definitely a difficult time. For me, it’s just trusting people that you’ve known over a decade. When I got traded here, my whole thing was I wanted to retire a Sixer. I wanted to be here and retire a Sixer, and the front office didn’t have that in their future plans. It’s literally out of my control.
“It’s something that I didn’t want to happen for us — to be in this position — but I got to make a decision for my family. Understand this is a business. It’s just as simple as that. I came here today and worked my butt off and do the things necessary as a professional, as I would do and as I’ve been doing for 15 years”
Harden requested a trade from the 76ers on June 29 after opting into the final year of a two-year, $68.6 million deal, a contract signed below market value so the front office could sign P.J. Tucker to a three-year, $33.2 million deal and Danuel House Jr. to a two-year, $8.5 million deal.
Harden added fuel to the fire in August when he called team president Daryl Morey a “liar” and said that he would “never be a part of an organization that he’s [Morey] part of” again. Morey acquired Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder when he was the general manager of the Houston Rockets in 2012 and acquired him again with the 76ers at the 2022 NBA trade deadline in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, who previously acquired Harden from Houston for a king’s ransom in 2021.
If Harden remains in Philadelphia, he’s part of an NBA contender that includes 2022-23 MVP Joel Embiid and budding star guard Tyrese Maxey, who averaged a career-high 20.3 points per game last season. The 76ers fired head coach Doc Rivers after three seasons and a third consecutive second-round playoff exit, replacing him with former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
Harden, 34, averaged 21.0 points, an NBA-high 10.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 44.1/38.5/86.7 last season. He has earned seven All-NBA honors, is a 10-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion and two-time assist champion.
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