James Harden wants out of Philadelphia due to a disagreement with general manager and longtime friend Daryl Morel.
At least, that’s what Harden says and what all previous reports have indicated.
But maybe that’s not the reason Harden says he no longer wants to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
In fact, former ESPN NBA Today host Rachel Nichols, who has since found here way over to Fox Sports, says that Harden wants out for an entirely different reason.
"He still thinks of himself as the guy from that Game 1 [vs. the Celtics]… he thinks he should be leading the show. The reason why he wanted out of Philadelphia in the first place is that it's the Joel Embiid show right now."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) August 31, 2023
Nichols appeared on Thursday morning’s episode of “Undisputed” opposite host Skip Bayless and suggested that Joel Embiid, not Morey, is the reason Harden wants to leave.
“I don’t think it’s a trust issue for James Harden. At least, not for me, personally,” she began. “It’s the fact that he is 34. He’s not the player that he used to be. And if he can acknowledge that, I think he will continue to have success in the NBA for a while.
“Key(shawn Johnson) is right. Guys want to play with him when he is motivated, when he is into it. And the fact that, yes, as (Bayless) point out, in games six and seven of that series against Boston, it’s not just that he combined for 22 points over two games. He had 10 turnovers.
“But he still things of himself as the guy from that game one. Or the guy from that game four. He thinks he should be leading the show,” she continued. “The reason why he wanted out of Philadelphia in the first place is that it’s the Joel Embiid show right now. And he wants a different role.”
Harden missed the NBA All-Star Game for the first time in over a decade in 2023 despite his strong play. A large part of that was down to the perception that Harden was a role player supporting Embiid, who went on to win the league’s MVP award.
So maybe Nichols is onto something. Either way, it appears that Harden has clearly played his last game in a Sixers uniform.