The latest chapter in the James Harden saga with the Philadelphia 76ers has the three-time scoring champ remaining adamant about wanting out of Philly, as the Sixers brass, headlined by Daryl Morey, hoping to patch things up with The Beard. The Sixers have publicly proclaimed their willingness to go into training camp with things unsettled with their star point guard.
The proverbial phrase "willing to get uncomfortable" has been thrown around.
We'll see about that.
The Rockets took this exact stance with Harden three years ago, so Rockets fans know how this will unfold. And that was Harden's first time demanding out of a city, whereas this is his third.
Harden has always gotten his way in the end. And he's hell-bent on getting his way this time around.
Since the Rockets know what this will entail, it makes sense to give Sixers fans a heads-up of what they could be in for in the coming months. Just know that it will get ugly- ugly enough for the mayor of the city to get involved.
In the Rockets' saga with the 2017-18 MVP, Harden prioritized time with trap hip-hop artist Lil' Baby over going to training camp and spending time with his teammates. Harden promised then-coach Stephen Silas that he'd be in town for a private workout, which he failed to follow through on altogether.
When Harden finally did show up, it was clear that he hadn't been training, as he was noticeably a few pounds too heavy (to put it politely).
The three-time scoring champ got off to a stellar start through his first three games in 2020-21, averaging 37 points, 11 assists, 52.5 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from deep, and shooting 32-of-36 from the free throw line- good for 88.8 percent.
Over the next five games, Harden realized just how daunting of a task it was to lace his sneakers up and play for a team that he didn't want to be on, averaging 17.4 points, 10 assists, 37.8 percent from the field, and 25.6 percent from deep.
Harden's free throw attempts went from 12 trips to the line through the first three games to just 4.8 trips over his next five games in Houston., which was the most obvious sign that he was intentionally tanking his value, in hopes of getting the Rockets to trade him to his one desired destination.
This should be especially concerning for Sixers fans, as Harden also has just one specific team in mind now- the LA Clippers. Since the Clippers know this, they don't have reason to make a respectable offer, as they're only bidding against themselves.
James Harden is the best in the league at this
The Rockets eventually had to absolve themselves of the drama and mounting dysfunction with their franchise icon, deciding to ultimately deal him to his preferred team.
Barring an unforeseen surprise at the last minute, the Sixers will likely find themselves forced to make a similar decision. Especially for a franchise that's seen just how ugly it can get in their previous stare-down with Ben Simmons, in which they were insulted for seemingly being unsympathetic towards mental health challenges.
Harden is undefeated at this point when it comes to getting his way out of town.
Whenever Harden does show up, he'll initially ball out, so he can resuscitate his trade value, and eventually mail it in, so he can get his way out of town.
Good luck, Sixers fans. Rockets fans know how this will play out.