The NBA announced today that Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden has been fined $100,000 by the league as a result of his public comments on August 14 and 17 indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team.
The league’s investigation, which included an interview of Harden, confirmed that these comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not accommodate his request to be traded.
Harden made headlines when he called out Sixers president Daryl Morey during a camp in China, and when he said that his relationship with the Sixers was irreparable.
James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be part of an organization that he’s a part of again.” 😳 pic.twitter.com/r2Gv07wAH7— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 14, 2023
“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of," Harden said. "Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of again."
These comments were made the day after Morey and the Sixers decided to end trade talks involving Harden, who has made it clear that he wants a change of scenery ever since he picked up his $35.6 million player option back in June.
On August 17, Harden said that the relationship with Morey and the Sixers is beyond repair.
"I've been patient all summer," Harden added.
As BasketballNews' Blake Stern recently noted, the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement features a clause about players withholding services. Essentially, the CBA says that if Harden chooses to hold out for more than 30 days into the regular season, he will no longer be able to hit free agency next summer because he would not have completed the terms of his contract (unless the Sixers allow him to).
The National Basketball Players' Association released a statement in response to Harden's fine.
"We respectfully disagree with the league's decision to discipline James Harden for recent comments he made, which we believe do not violate the rule against public trade demands," the statement reads. "We intend to file a grievance and have the matter heard by our Arbitrator."
Harden is a former NBA Most Valuable Player and 10-time All-Star. Last season, he averaged 21 points, 10.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 threes and 1.2 steals, while shooting 44.1% from the field, 38.5% from three-point range and 86.7% from the free-throw line.