The James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers drama continues as the season nears. Harden is still a Sixer for now and has not returned to the team to practice. The two sides are reaching serious tabloid-level breakup status. Fox Sports NBA analyst Rachel Nichols likened the drama to TMZ-esque drama on “Undisputed.”
“If we were at divorce levels at the start of training camp, we are at Kim and Kanye, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie levels coming into this week,” Nichols said.
She, of course, is referencing the much-publicized divorces of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as well as the messy split of Pitt and Jolie. It is par for the course for James Harden’s antics. The All-Star guard knows how to make a mess when demanding a trade.
Harden briefly appeared at Sixers training camp before disappearing once again to Houston. He continues to say he will not play for a team run by Daryl Morey. The two are at a standstill as the Sixers have yet to find a deal with the LA Clippers or any other team.
Will James Harden play in the season opener?
No one knows if James Harden will play in the Sixers’ first game. Philly opens the season on Thursday at the Milwaukee Bucks. It is a national TV, prime-time matchup.
Nichols knows a thing or two about the NBA and has her sources. However, even she has no clue if Harden will play in the opener.
“There is a real question whether he is going to show up for that game. If he does, is he going to do his listless ‘I don’t want to shoot’ kind of thing?” Nichols said. “Either way, this is about to get nasty.”
James Harden could face a costly penalty if he does not show. He can be fined $389,000 for each missed game. Nichols said the Sixers are not afraid to do this as former Sixer Ben Simmons once lost $19 million in one season for sitting out.
Nichols also said Morey will not hastily agree to a deal. The Sixers will want enough pieces to flip into another star player. Nichols also reported that the Clippers turned down a deal with Philly after refusing to give up Terance Mann.
“They need to get enough value in this trade to keep Joel Embiid,” Nichols said. “They need to bundle a lot of stuff together like Flo from the insurance commercials and push that into a big star before the trade deadline so Joel Embiid feels like he has a real shot at the title.”
It will be interesting to see how long Harden holds out. He can afford the fines, but it is doubtful he wants to lose millions for not showing up. His status remains unknown for Thursday.