Harden still set on Clippers, expected to join Sixers camp if not yet traded

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Report: Harden still set on Clippers, expected to join Sixers camp if not yet traded originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It continues to appear that anything resembling a rapid resolution with James Harden and the Sixers is unlikely.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported Wednesday that, “No matter the Sixers’ wishes, Harden still intends to play for the Clippers during the 2023-24 season.” Fischer also reported that “rival front offices have been briefed on Harden’s unwavering focus on the Clippers and the Clippers alone,” and that the Sixers haven’t had “substantial trade conversation” with any other teams about the 33-year-old guard.

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Reigning MVP Joel Embiid told Showtime’s Rachel Nichols earlier this month that he wants Harden to return to the Sixers and hopes his “mindset can be changed.”

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey laid out his stance Tuesday in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano.

“If we don’t get either a very good player or something that we can turn into a very good player, then we’re just not going to do it,” Morey said. “And if James were to turn his mind around, we would all be thrilled. … But at this moment, he does prefer to be traded and we’re attempting to honor that.”

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In a scenario where the summer concluded, training camp arrived, and Harden was still a Sixer, what would happen next?

“If this saga does drag out through September and until media day on Oct. 2, Harden is expected at this point to report to training camp,” Fischer reported.

How Harden would handle things in that hypothetical would clearly be an important question. Ben Simmons did eventually end his holdout in 2021 and, after participating in two practices, was suspended a game for “conduct detrimental to the team” during the third. The Sixers traded him to Brooklyn and acquired Harden in February of 2022.

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Harden is under contract with the Sixers for next year because he picked up his $35.6 million player option. What his 2023-24 season will actually look like remains unclear.

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