James Harden Reports Back To Sixers

James Harden, who had been away from the Sixers since October 15, has reported back to the team, according to Adrian Wonjarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets, Harden is expected to take part in Wednesday’s practice before the 76ers leave for Milwaukee for Thursday’s regular season opener vs. the Bucks. Wojnarowski confirms that’s the case (Twitter link).

Harden, who hasn’t played at all in the preseason and reportedly participated in just one five-on-five scrimmage back on Oct. 7, will have to ramp back up to game shape and won’t be active on Thursday in Milwaukee, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter video link).

Although Harden showed up prepared to travel with the Sixers to Milwaukee, the club will have him remain in Philadelphia to continue his ramp-up process, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT (Twitter link). After facing the Bucks, the 76ers will play in Toronto on Saturday before returning to Philadelphia to host the Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Harden, who asked the Sixers to trade him in June when he picked up his player option for the 2023/24 season, has expressed frustration with the slow pace of the negotiations multiple times in the months since then.

Back in August, he referred to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey as a “liar” during a promotional event, later explaining to the NBA when the league investigated those comments that the club hadn’t delivered on its assurances that it would trade him “quickly.”

Harden skipped media day and the first day of training camp before reporting to the 76ers this fall. After spending nearly two weeks with the team, he departed last Sunday without an excused absence. However, Philadelphia later said Harden was away due to a personal matter, and there has been no indication that the club fined him for missing practices or its final preseason game.

Now that the regular season is underway, Harden could potentially boost his trade value a little by getting into game shape, showing that he’s fully healthy, and playing like his usual self. We’ll see if that’s the next step in this saga or if there are more surprises on tap before he takes the court this season.

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