Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers are once again in a tricky situation with a star player who wants out.
Veteran guard James Harden, who joined the Sixers via trade during the 2021-22 season, is ready for his time with the organization to end. He is currently away from the team due to a personal matter. Questions persist as to whether his absence is valid or a protest of sorts due to the fact that Philadelphia hasn’t traded him away.
Whatever the case may be, it seems like the Sixers can’t comfortably say that they have a viable running mate lined up for star big man Joel Embiid this season. The implications of the Harden situation could be wide-reaching, a truth that has one NBA source believing the Sixers and Morey are in danger.
“Oh, man, they are f—–,” the front office source told Heavy Sports. “I’m telling you what, they are screwed.
“Daryl Morey’s not going to survive this.”
The Sixers are entering a brand-new era under head coach Nick Nurse. The newcomer certainly can’t be thrilled about the drama that is unfolding before his first season with Philadelphia even begins.
Although Harden hasn’t been a perfect running mate alongside Embiid, the veteran guard has helped the Sixers stay relevant in the Eastern Conference since joining the team. Last season, he averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been frequently linked to Harden, but L.A. and Philadelphia are seemingly far apart in trade talks.
Moreover, even if the Sixers do ultimately find a trade for Harden, there are no guarantees that the return will provide Embiid with the help he needs to bring Philadelphia to the promised land.
Embiid won MVP honors last season after averaging 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He’s under contract with the Sixers for a few more seasons, but there has been plenty of speculation about the possibility of the big man requesting a trade if Philadelphia doesn’t meet his needs.
The Sixers will need players like Tyrese Maxey to step up this season if Harden can’t be relied on. Philadelphia is looking to take a step forward after being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last season by the Boston Celtics.