in ,

Limited Options for James Harden Despite Criticizing Daryl Morey, CBA Clause Reveals

During his Adidas media event in China, James Harden, the Philadelphia 76ers guard, criticized Daryl Morey, the team’s president of basketball operations. This occurrence adds to the turbulent offseason for both the organization and its star player.

Harden expressed, “Daryl Morey is dishonest, and I won’t ever associate myself with a team he’s a part of. Let me emphasize that again: Daryl Morey is dishonest, and I won’t ever be part of any organization he’s involved with.”

This situation unfolded just two days after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the 76ers were discontinuing trade discussions involving Harden. Despite Harden opting into the final year of his contract in July and subsequently requesting a trade, Philadelphia engaged in talks with the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination.

However, they failed to reach a satisfactory agreement and intended to bring their discontented point guard into training camp.

Limited Options for James Harden Despite Criticizing Daryl Morey, CBA Clause Reveals
Harden standing next to Morey during his Jersey number unveil.

Despite James Harden’s public stance of holding out, the 76ers could hold a position of advantage. A provision in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) stipulates that “a player who refrains from providing playing services as required by a Player Contract for a period exceeding thirty (30) days after the commencement of the final Season [of his contract]… shall not have the right to negotiate or execute a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless the Team with which the player most recently competed expressly agrees.”

In essence, if Harden does not join the 76ers by November 2, the team has the authority to prevent him from signing with another professional basketball team in the subsequent summer.

This regulation isn’t a new addition to the CBA, but it solely pertains to players in the last year of their contracts, thus explaining the rule’s relatively low visibility.

The 76ers have a history of having discontented former All-Star guards. Before the 2021-22 season, Ben Simmons expressed his desire to no longer be a part of the team, leading to his absence from training camp and all preseason games.

Although he rejoined the team in October, he encountered issues during a practice session and was ejected by coach Doc Rivers for uncooperative behavior. Consequently, Simmons faced suspension for the team’s season opener.

Remarkably, despite not participating in any games for Philadelphia throughout the season, Simmons was still credited with a year of service according to the NBA’s official records.

RELATED ARTICLE : James Harden Trade Rumors 

Harden might be able to maneuver around the league’s holdout penalty using a similar strategy. In fact, the former MVP, experienced in orchestrating departures from teams, has executed this tactic in his past two destinations.

During the beginning of the 2020-21 season with the Houston Rockets, he arrived late to training camp and openly criticized the team after consecutive significant losses, which eventually led to his trade to the Brooklyn Nets.

In the subsequent season, Harden requested and was granted a trade to Philadelphia, partly to reunite with Daryl Morey, who had served as the general manager during Harden’s time in Houston.

The present disagreement between Harden and Morey arises from the absence of a long-term contract offer this offseason. Harden had accepted a pay reduction the previous year to enable salary cap and roster flexibility. His current contract stipulates a salary of $35.6 million for this season.

Limited Options for James Harden Despite Criticizing Daryl Morey, CBA Clause Reveals
Morey and James during a post season interview

While Harden attained All-Star status in 2022 and led the league in assists during the previous season, his scoring average has seen a decrease over the past four seasons.

Despite being 33 years old, he displayed glimpses of his former prowess in the 2023 playoffs, achieving over 40 points on two separate occasions. However, his performance dropped to 17, 13, and 9 points respectively in the final three games of a second-round loss to the Boston Celtics.

Harden’s points per game in the postseason have consistently declined compared to the regular season over the past 11 years. Refusing to participate in the fall could jeopardize his future, but attending with negative intentions might not be favorable for the 76ers. The team boasts the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid, and can’t afford to squander another season of his prime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *