As you may or may not know by now, James Harden, still miffed over his not being traded to the Clippers (at least not yet), was . Which is to say, we're now officially in "here we go again" territory with Harden, who wants to be traded, in particular to the Clippers, and who has already, at various points over the last handful of seasons, forced his way out of Houston and Brooklyn by making his presence a positively intolerable distraction.
According to NBA TV and NBA on TNT reporter Jared Greenberg, it sounds like Harden is preparing to do the same thing in Philadelphia.
"While it is unclear what Harden's next steps will be, it has been made clear to me by one high-ranking [76ers] official that the Sixers would not be surprised, in fact they expect Harden to show up [to training camp] at some point and make [the situation] painful for the organization," Greenberg reported Monday.
"At one point, after Harden asked for a trade, I was told that as many as four teams in what was categorized as serious trade conversations with the Sixers for James Harden. However, at this point those talks have fizzled out, and no deals are being discussed as of today."
"The point of it [for Sixers brass] is to get Harden to play [in Philadelphia], or they want to get value back that makes sense. They don't want to live in that middle. It's either get Harden to play, or get a return that allows [the Sixers] to win."
Greenberg went on to declare the alternative, which would be conceding to Harden's pressure and trading him for less than the value the Sixers perceive to be enough to keep them in true championship contention, as simply not being an option for the Sixers.
And it shouldn't be. Harden, even after opting in to his $35.6 million player option for this season, wanted a trade to the Clippers, Daryl Morey checked into it, but various reports have indicated that the Clippers were, in fact, the one that eventually ended those discussions, at least for the time being.
The bottom line is this: Harden is no longer as good or as valuable as he thinks he is. That's actually the "painful" truth of all this.