The Philadelphia 76ers held media day Monday morning and one notable absence was All-Star guard James Harden. It's not entirely surprising that Harden chose not to show up, as he requested a trade from the team at the start of free agency this summer. While there was some early traction on Harden potentially getting traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, his preferred destination, the 76ers stopped those talks with the intention of bringing him to training camp.
However, with Harden's media day absence it seems he may also hold out of training camp, making this the second time in three years that a star point guard in Philadelphia is away from the team while waiting for a trade, the last time being Ben Simmons. When asked if he expects Harden to participate at training camp, Sixers general manager Daryl Morey said "He's not here today, and we expect him to participate like every other player." Morey also said that he hasn't spoken with Harden since he asked for a trade, as the All-Star guard requested for Morey to go through Harden't representation.
Given that the Sixers have experience with a star player holding out, Tobias Harris shared what Philadelphia learned from that situation with Simmons, and how it can be applied to what's going on with Harden now.
"We just learned to control what we can control," Harris said. "Today's media day, tomorrow's the first day of practice. We got a great group here, the guys that are here have been working their tails off all summer long to be ready for this moment. For us, we're ready to compete. New staff in place here as well, so we're ready to learn a new system offensively and defensively. Figure out ways we can be at our best as a group. That's all we can do, everything else will handle itself and we'll figure it out from there."
Though Morey made it seem like Harden would be at training camp tomorrow, there's no guarantee that will happen. If Harden does decide to sit out, he could be subject to fines, similar to what Simmons endured with the Sixers in 2021.
It's clear that Harden is trying to send Philadelphia's front office a message, but there hasn't been any new reported traction on Harden getting his trade request fulfilled. Perhaps that changes in the weeks to come as the Sixers prepare for the upcoming season, but for right now it looks like Harden is content with another standoff, similar to the one he had with the Houston Rockets until he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.