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NBA Players and China Show Support for James Harden After His Comments Regarding Daryl Morey

NBA players are supporting James Harden and disagree with the way the portrayal of the 76ers’ point guard has been unfolding. Recently, Kyrie Irving of the Dallas Mavericks expressed his dissatisfaction with a headline by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on X (formerly Twitter). The headline stated, “Disgruntled Harden calls 76ers prez Morey a ‘liar.'”

In response, Irving questioned whether Harden is genuinely disgruntled or if he is holding Daryl Morey accountable for his perceived lack of honesty and transparency during the contract negotiation process this past summer.

NBA Players and China Show Support for James Harden After His Comments Regarding Daryl Morey
Harden and Morey /@76ers

James Harden made significant headlines during his recent visit to China, where he engaged with fans and participated in events. His comments about Daryl Morey at an Adidas-sponsored press conference in Beijing quickly gained traction on social media.

Harden’s statement, “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” was met with shock from the media and those present, followed by enthusiastic cheers.

Daryl Morey is widely disliked in China due to a tweet he posted in 2019, which has since been deleted, that featured the message “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” This slogan was associated with anti-Chinese government protesters during the social upheaval in Hong Kong.

Daryl Morey’s tweet in 2019 triggered an NBA blackout in China for the 2019-20 season, resulting in a financial hit of around $150-$200 million for the league.

While the NBA eventually reestablished its relationship with Tencent, a Chinese entertainment conglomerate, the Houston Rockets continued to be excluded from Tencent’s broadcasts and China’s state television CCTV during the 2020-21 season.

Former Philadelphia 76ers player Andre Iguodala commended James Harden’s decision to call out Morey, highlighting the leverage Harden holds in this situation.

During an appearance on “Gil’s Show,” hosted by retired NBA player Gilbert Arenas, Iguodala emphasized the importance of understanding one’s value and using leverage during contract negotiations.

Iguodala pointed out that Harden’s safety net is his connection with China, given Morey’s history there. This strategic move not only makes it difficult to discipline Harden but also benefits him due to his marketability and potential to sell merchandise like shoes in China.

On June 29, James Harden informed the Philadelphia 76ers of his desire to be traded when he exercised his $35.6 million player option for the upcoming season. He expressed a preference for joining the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Sixers indicated their willingness to facilitate the trade.

However, after a video of Harden in China emerged, where he criticized Daryl Morey, the Sixers reportedly informed Harden’s agent that trade discussions were over and they intend to have him return for the start of the season. Nonetheless, Harden doesn’t plan to attend the training camp.

READ MORE : Limited Options For James Harden Despite Morey Criticisms 

In response to an X headline by Adrian Wojnarowski that described Harden as “disgruntled,” former Sixers player Andre Iguodala questioned why the front office isn’t portrayed as disgruntled when they make mistakes.

Iguodala emphasized that players are becoming more knowledgeable and strategic in leveraging their power. He pointed out that when players make mistakes, they are held accountable, but the same standards aren’t applied to front offices. Iguodala believed that Harden seized the opportunity to voice his stance.

A future in China now?

During his time in China, Harden shared his desire to play a season there, acknowledging the overwhelming fan support he receives. He expressed his appreciation for the passionate Chinese fans and mentioned that they deserve to watch him play there due to their unwavering love.

However, Harden’s wish to play in China might not be straightforward if he remains firm in his decision not to play for the 76ers and isn’t traded to another NBA team soon.

The collective bargaining agreement stipulates that if a player refrains from playing for over 30 days after the start of the last season covered by his contract, he could be considered in violation of the contract.

This violation could prevent him from entering free agency and signing with another professional team unless the last team he played for agrees to release him from the contract.

In essence, if Harden persists in not playing for the Sixers, it could potentially create complications in terms of his future basketball endeavors, including the possibility of playing in China.

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