James Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP, seems to be sending a message amid his reported wish to leave the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers traded for Harden during the 2021-22 season.
Ahead of this offseason’s free agency period, Harden opted into his $35.6 million deal for the upcoming season, according to multiple reports.
ESPN reported that Harden requested a trade, and the Los Angeles Clippers have been mentioned as one of his preferred destinations. Harden has made the next move in the ongoing saga by removing references to the Sixers from his social media platforms.
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Harden’s Twitter bio previously said he was an “NBA Player for the Philadelphia 76ers” and his location was listed as “Philadelphia, PA.”
Both references have now disappeared.
76ERS’ JOEL EMBIID ON JAMES HARDEN’S TRADE REQUEST: ‘HOPEFULLY HIS MINDSET CAN BE CHANGED’
The only item listed in Harden’s bio as of Thursday afternoon is the Twitter handle for his wine business, “@jhardenwines.”
The 33-year-old’s Instagram bio also no longer mentions he is a member of the Sixers. But Harden did keep several photos of him in a 76ers uniform on his account.
76ers general manager Daryl Morey, who spent eight seasons with Harden when he was with the Houston Rockets, said he is “attempting to honor” Harden’s request but only if Philadelphia receives significant compensation in return.
“I do have a long relationship with him. I’m attempting to honor that,” Morey said in a radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic this week. “But the reality is that if we do look at a trade it’s going to be for one of two things.
“It’s either going to be for a player who continues to help us be right there like we were last year, up 3-2 on one of the best teams in the East, the Celtics.”
Morey also hinted the team would be willing to welcome Harden back for the 2023-24 if he changed his mind about playing in Philly next season.
“If we don’t get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, then we’re just not going to do it,” Morey said. “If James were to turn his mind around, we would all be thrilled. You’ve heard [Joel Embiid’s] comments about that.”
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A viral video recently showed Emiid speaking out about his desire to win an NBA championship “whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else.”
Harden averaged 21 points last season. He also averaged 10.7 assists per game, which led the NBA.