The fine was issued in response to Harden’s recent comments in which he referred to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey as a “liar” and said he had no intention of being part of an organization that Morey is a part of, as well as a follow-up interview in which he stated that he thinks his relationship with the franchise is “beyond repair.”
The NBPA believes Harden’s comments directed toward Morey do not constitute a trade demand. An arbitrator will decide whether Harden will have to pay the fine.
The statement read, “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. We intend to file a grievance and have the matter heard by our Arbitrator.”
The NBA’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a section stating that “any player who publicly expresses a desire to be traded to another team shall be subject to a fine” up to $150K.
A separate section of the CBA gives the league latitude to fine a player up to $100K if he makes a “statement having, or that was designed to have, an effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball or of the Association or of a (team).”
The NBA’s announcement earlier today indicated that Harden was fined because he suggested he “would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team,” which the league could argue falls under the latter of the two categories outlined above, rather than the former.
Luke Adams contributed to this story.