A team spokesperson said Harden is “away from the team due to a personal matter,” tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.
Harden has reportedly been in Houston since Philadelphia’s practice on Sunday and is frustrated that he hasn’t been traded to the Clippers. The former league MVP requested a trade to Los Angeles after picking up his $35.6MM player option this summer.
Harden told reporters last week that he didn’t see a path to reconciliation with Philadelphia. He previously called president of basketball operations Daryl Morey a “liar” and that he would “never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”
Sam Amick of The Athletic reported yesterday evening that the Clippers and Sixers remain at an impasse in trade talks, despite more conversations in recent days. L.A. doesn’t want to bid against itself and has been unwilling to include Terance Mann in a deal, according to Amick.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that even though Harden has been professional when he’s been around the team, he hasn’t attended any of the 76ers’ preseason games, skipped at least one shootaround, and has only participated in one five-on-five scrimmage (on October 7) since rejoining the club. The 34-year-old was also absent for media day at the beginning of the month and missed the first day of training camp as well.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN noted on Wednesday (Twitter link), the fine for missing a practice is modest (starting at $2,500), but if Harden skips a game without the team’s consent, he could face fines of $389K per contest. It’s unclear if the missed practices the past couple days will be excused by the Sixers now that the team is saying Harden is attending to a personal matter.
For example, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN stated on Wednesday (video link) that Harden’s absence is the latest step in his desire to create an uncomfortable situation for the Sixers until he’s traded.
“Somebody close to him told me this is only the beginning of what he plans to do here,” Shelburne said.