James Harden's availibility for the Philadelphia 76ers' opening night showdown with the new-look Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday is unclear as he continues to remain away from the team. The veteran guard, who has pushed for a trade all summer, did not practice on Monday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, continuing a recent trend.
Late last week, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Harden was in Houston and away from the team due to a personal matter. and did not play in the team's preseason finale against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
Harden did not play a single minute in the preseason, and Sixers coach Nick Nurse admitted he's prepared to begin the season without the 10-time All-Star.
"I think I've been preparing for it all this week, for sure," Nurse said on Friday. "Lots of thought has gone into him not playing and preparing the team that way this summer. I keep saying, there is another plan if something changes. I don't think it's affected us very much, at all. We've just gone out and played and we're going to have to go out play the way we're trying to play. I think that is without (him) until something changes."
Harden first requested a trade in June, and since then has attempted to force Sixers president Daryl Morey's hand with numerous escalation tactics. He called Morey a "liar" during an event in China over the summer and said he would "never be a part of an organization that he's a part of." was recently seen partying at a club while signs that said "Daryl Morey is a liar." Now, Harden has been a no-show for the majority of training camp and the preseason.. Undeterred, he
All signs indicate that Harden will continue to make life difficult for the Sixers if they do not trade him. "This is an escalation in tactics, this is, 'I am not happy,'" ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported last week. "As somebody close to him told me, this is only the beginning of what he plans to do here."
Harden wants to be traded to the Clippers, but the two sides are currently at an impasse in negotiations. . Morey is willing to part with Harden for an unprotected first round pick, a first-round pick swap and Mann, but the Clippers reportedly consider Mann untouchable.
While other executives may buckle to the pressure, the Ben Simmons saga showed us that Morey is willing to let things get uncomfortable rather than accept what he views as poor value. As a result, Harden may be stuck in Philadelphia much longer than he was anticipating. Whether he'll suit up while he's there remains to be seen.