NBA fines James Harden $100,000 for criticizing 76ers exec Daryl Morey

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NBA fines James Harden $100,000 for criticizing Philadelphia 76ers executive Daryl Morey

The NBA has issued Philadelphia 76ers superstar James Harden a $100,000 fine for his public comments made toward Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey.

On Saturday, the league launched an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the 10-time All-Star bashing Morey and calling him a liar during an Adidas event in China last week.

The league’s official statement reads:

“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 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 was filmed in China saying, “Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”

Over the weekend, context was added for his initial comments. “James Harden told league investigators he was referring to Daryl Morey telling Harden he will trade him ‘quickly’ following the $35.6 million opt in for 2023-24,” Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

NBA fines James Harden $100,000 for criticizing Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey last week in China

The NBA pursued an investigation because the league office believed “Harden was portending a 2023-24 holdout in violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement or had been referencing past contract discussions with the organization that might constitute salary cap circumvention,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

However, neither the Philadelphia 76ers nor Harden violated any rules. Player misconduct is the only thing that comes to mind. During an interview with a KHOU 11 television reporter in Houston last Thursday, the seven-time All-NBA member was asked if his relationship with the Sixers was beyond repair.

“I think so,” Harden replied. “I’ve been patient all summer. For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”

Harden might have been upset over a new deal rejection. The Sixers could’ve offered the guard as much as a four-year, $213 million contract in free agency. Nonetheless, that would have required a long-term commitment.

On June 29, James Harden requested a trade from the 76ers. This occurred after he exercised his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. His player option is part of the two-year, $68.64 million contract he signed last July.

Harden signed his two-year deal last offseason after declining a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. The three-time scoring champ made 58 starts this past season with the Sixers. Harden averaged 21 points, 6.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists, 1.2 steals, and 36.8 minutes per game.

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