Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks spoke out in support of James Harden, who is involved in a contract dispute with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Irving reacted angrily to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s description of Harden as a “disgruntled” star.
Is he Disgruntled Adrian?? Or is he holding Darryl Morey accountable for his dishonesty and lack of transparency throughout the contract negotiation process this summer?
— Chief Hélà 🤞🏾 (@KyrieIrving) August 14, 2023
A video surfaced Monday in which Harden says that the Sixer’s president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, is a “liar,” signaling a huge step forward in his hunt for a new team.
James Harden on his China tour: “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.” 😳 pic.twitter.com/oaqVjXkax6
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) August 14, 2023
Is Harden’s Contract Dispute: 76ers, Morey, and Commitment Questions
In addition to claiming that Philadelphia had halted trade talks centered on the 2017-18 MVP, Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the veteran guard was “unhappy with [Morey] over the lack of a long-term maximum-level contract offer.”
Harden’s words lend validity to the notion that he and the 76ers had a handshake deal when he signed his two-year, $68.6 million contract last summer. The money he gave up would be repaid in full later on.
If Morey implied as much, Harden’s fury is reasonable. That argument, though, may be used against him.
The 33-year-old’s play on the court continued to deteriorate, he added another heartbreaking postseason flameout to his resume, and murmurs of a reunion with the Houston Rockets surfaced even before the season ended.
Morey may then claim that Harden failed to deliver on his promise of becoming a max-level player to whom the Sixers can commit long-term.
Did James Harden promise to play at All-NBA level? Did he promise to be in shape, stay focused and help them win a title? Because when he shot 26% against Boston on the way out — I’m not sure that promise was realized either. https://t.co/LNuV8arQb0
— Josh Eberley 🇨🇦 (@JoshEberley) August 14, 2023
Blame on Both Sides: Sixers and Harden Contract Dispute
Both sides have some of the blame in this situation.
The Sixers should have anticipated the problems that would develop and how it would appear if they broke any existing agreement with Harden.
Meanwhile, Harden should’ve known what was coming when he opted into the second year of his contract with the 76ers. He could have been a free agent and joined any other team, although for a lot less money, he gave Morey complete control instead.
I remain baffled by Harden’s strategy these past few years.
1. Turns down max extension from Nets
2. Takes paycut for re-sign with Sixers. Says it’s about winning, then spends season hinting at his unhappiness in Philly.
4. Asks for max deal from Sixers. When doesn’t get it,… https://t.co/qr7NxYxaCP
— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) August 14, 2023
And for now, Harden’s latest attempt is having no effect. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Philadelphia’s attitude remains intact in terms of its desire to part ways with the southpaw only if a compelling offer is made.
In response to Irving’s criticism, Harden exemplifies the textbook definition of “disgruntled.”
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