James Harden has been fined $100,000 by the NBA in response to the Philadelphia 76ers star calling team president Daryl Morey a “liar.”
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) August 22, 2023
The NBA released a statement on the matter on Tuesday.
“The NBA announced today that Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden has been fined $100,000 by the NBA for public comments on August 14 and 17 indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team,” the statement read. “The league’s investigation, which included an interview of Harden, confirmed that these comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not accommodate his request to be traded.”
Harden recently made the comments about Morey as a reaction to not yet being traded as he expected to be after opting into his contract with the 76ers for this season. The 33-year-old former NBA MVP said he would not be part of the same organization as Morey and later said he believed it was too late to repair his relationship with the franchise.
Last season, Harden averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game but again fell short in the playoffs with the 76ers losing to the Boston Celtics in the second round after holding a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. He scored nine points in the 24-point loss in Game 7 after scoring 13 points in a Game 6 loss at home.
Kevin McHale, who coached Harden and worked under Morey with the Rockets, recently expressed his disappointment with the situation and said it likely is based on decisions made by 76ers ownership, not Morey.
The entire episode has put the 76ers into quite a bind, not only with Harden, but also with the effect it may have on NBA MVP Joel Embiid. Reports have speculated that the center may eventually tire of the drama in Philadelphia and request a trade from the organization. The Knicks reportedly are one of the teams closely monitoring the situation.
Now that Harden has been fined, the ordeal seems to be getting worse with the sides running out of time to come to a resolution before the 2023-24 NBA regular season begins.