Nick Nurse

Sixers’ Morey Vows To Shake Up Roster In “Big” Offseason

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey confirmed during a Monday press conference that he’ll be busy reworking his roster this summer, Dan Gelston of The Associated Press reports.

“We’re not going to have continuity,” Morey said. “We’ll have continuity with our stars and our head coach but we’re going to have a lot of changes this season.”

Morey feels the heat to build a championship roster around his two stars.

This offseason’s a big one,” Morey said. “I owe it to the fans, to ownership, to everybody, to get this team in a place where we’re competing for championships. We obviously didn’t achieve it this year.”

Joel Embiid is the only two player with a guaranteed contract beyond this season. Tyrese Maxey will be a restricted free agent and is expected to sign a maximum-salary contract.

Beyond that, everything is up for grabs. Morey could have $65MM in cap space to wheel and deal, along with signing free agents. He’s not against signing an aging star, such as Paul George, if one becomes available in the free agent market.

“You have to factor in the age,” Morey said. “We feel like we’re in the window where we have to win now. We’re mostly focused on getting the best players that fit with Joel and Tyrese.”

Morey has some regrets regarding this season, namely that he didn’t have a deep enough roster. The Sixers slid down the standings when Embiid was sidelined for two months after undergoing knee surgery. He wasn’t close to 100% in the postseason when Philadelphia lost to New York in the opening round.

“It can’t be a big focus, how we play without him. We know that team can’t win a championship,” Morey said. “It’s really, how do we manage through it better? I felt like, on me, the depth wasn’t quite there when he was out to win at the level we wanted to win at.”

Here are some other notable tidbits from Morey’s press conference:

  • His top priority is to find a wing “who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs,” Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets.
  • Coach Nick Nurse will be retained. Reserves Paul Reed and Ricky Council IV are also expected to be back, even though their salaries are not guaranteed, Vorkunov adds.
  • Though he hasn’t ruled out re-signing Buddy Hield, who was acquired from Indiana at the trade deadline, Morey admitted that “the fit was less good than I thought,” per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). Hield played sparingly in the first round until Game 6, when he scored 20 points in 21 minutes.
  • Maxey’s performances during the regular season and playoffs proved to Morey that he can be the second-best player on a title team, Vorkunov relays in another tweet. “That belief went from high to we’re certain at this point that he can do that,” he said.

Sixers Notes: Maxey, Embiid, Nurse, Harris

After winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award for 2023/24 last week, Tyrese Maxey capped a memorable April with the biggest game of his four-year NBA career on Tuesday. The star guard scored 46 points in 52 minutes, including seven in the final 30 seconds of regulation to force the game into overtime, leading the Sixers to a Game 5 victory that kept their season alive.

“What was going through my mind was trying to survive,” Maxey said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Our season is on the line. I trust my work. I trust what I’ve done all my life, and I just tried to get to a spot, raise up and knock that shot down.”

The Sixers’ other star, Joel Embiid, had a triple-double in Tuesday’s victory, racking up 19 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. But Embiid, who is dealing with a sore knee, a case of Bell’s palsy, and a migraine that forced him to miss Tuesday morning’s shootaround, clearly wasn’t operating at full strength and made just 7-of-19 shots from the field. Last season’s MVP said after the game that he appreciated Maxey coming through when the club needed him most.

“Tonight, obviously based on the circumstances and knowing what was needed, based on what was happening and me not being able to be myself, he just had to do it,” Embiid said, per Bontemps. “And he did it. That’s why he is such an amazing basketball player.”

Here’s more on the Sixers, who now trail the Knicks 3-2 in their first-round series:

  • Embiid has become public enemy number one among Knicks fans during the first round, especially following a physical Game 3 performance in which he was accused of committing a “dirty” foul on opposing center Mitchell Robinson. However, the Sixers star had nothing but praise for the New York faithful after being on the receiving end of their vitriol in Game 5, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “It’s not hostile. I love New York. New York is my favorite city in the world. I have a place here for the past five years. I just love New York,” Embiid said. “And then the (Knicks) fans, when you play against a team they’re always gonna pick that guy. And they seem to have picked me, which is fine. I love it. If I gotta be the punching bag and keep hearing a lot of ‘F Embiid,’ that’s ok. I love it.”
  • Nick Nurse become the second NBA head coach to suffer an injury during the postseason, though it doesn’t sound as if his issue is as serious as Chris Finch‘s patellar tendon tear, which required surgery. As Ian Begley of tweets, Nurse injured a finger during Tuesday’s game when he slammed his hand in frustration over a call. It’s unclear if he broke or sprained the finger, but the 76ers’ coach couldn’t grip a marker to draw up plays during the second half, Begley adds.
  • Prior to Tuesday’s game, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that it might be a good idea to bring struggling forward Tobias Harris off the bench after he scored no more than 10 points in any of the series’ first four games. However, Nurse stuck with Harris in the starting five and the veteran rewarded his faith in Game 5, Pompey notes, scoring 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Harris was a +11 in 49 minutes of action. “Coach drew up some opportunities for me early on to get me going,” Harris said. “And I think that was just big for myself and overall, and just getting into a rhythm and getting into a flow out there.”

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Lillard, Portis, Middleton, Horst

Trailing 3-1 in their series with Indiana, the Bucks‘ best hope for a comeback rests with the return of injured stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, writes Jim Owczarski of The Journal Sentinel. Both players sat out Sunday’s loss, but neither has been ruled out for the series, which resumes Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo, who has been sidelined since suffering a calf strain April 9, has been listed as doubtful for the first four games. However, there’s cause for optimism after the former MVP completed an intense workout Sunday morning.

“It went well,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He moved, he shot, he’s running now with no resistance. So those are all very good signs.” Rivers said he’s “optimistic” about Antetokounmpo’s chances to return at some point, adding, “Like I think there’s a chance for him to play in this series. I really do.”

Lillard aggravated his right Achilles tendon late in Game 3. He wore a walking boot for Saturday’s film session, but didn’t have it on as he sat on the bench for Sunday’s contest. He was officially listed as out with tendinitis in the Achilles tendon.

“Not shutting him down,” Rivers said. “That’s a fact. I can say that much for sure.”

There is “obviously pessimism” about the status of both players with a quick turnaround for Game 5, Shams Charania said this morning on Run It Back (video link).

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Milwaukee lost an important part of its rotation on Sunday when Bobby Portis was ejected seven minutes into the game for an altercation with Andrew Nembhard (video link), notes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Although Nembhard pulled Portis’ arm, the officials determined during a video review that Portis’ push and open-handed strike were two separate hostile acts, meeting the standard for an ejection. “The emotions got the best of him,” Khris Middleton said. “I thought, for the most part of the year, he’s done a great job flirting with that line and not crossing over it. Tonight, it just crossed over at the worst time for us.”
  • Middleton played 40 minutes on Sunday despite pain in both ankles, Nehm adds. The veteran swingman was dealing with a sprained right ankle entering the game, and he hurt the left one when Myles Turner landed on it during a third quarter collision.
  • Sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer there’s a legitimate chance that general manager Jon Horst will leave the Bucks this summer to become head of basketball operations for the Pistons. Horst wasn’t on board with either of the team’s coaching hirings over the past year, according to O’Connor, as he preferred Nick Nurse when the organization opted for Adrian Griffin to please Antetokounmpo and he pushed for Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson when Rivers was brought in at midseason. O’Connor notes that Horst is a Michigan native who got his first front office job with the Pistons, and he might be more comfortable building a young team than refining Milwaukee’s aging roster.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic looks at the strategic adjustments made by Rivers and Indiana’s Rick Carlisle that have helped to shape the series.

Sixers To File Grievance Over Officating

4:26pm: The league acknowledged in its last two-minute report that Brunson and Josh Hart both fouled Maxey during the last-minute scramble. It also indicated Nurse should have been granted a timeout on the inbounds play, Bontemps tweets.

7:26am: Following their Game 2 loss to the Knicks in New York on Monday, the Sixers intend to file a grievance with the NBA over the officiating, a team spokesperson told Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.

According to Neubeck, the 76ers’ list of concerns will include (but won’t necessarily be limited to) the following:

  • Two calls in the last two-minute report from Game 1 went against the Sixers.
  • The Sixers have been the most disadvantaged team in the NBA this season based on last two-minute reports, with a report compiled in early April indicating that 22 missed calls benefited their opponents and 11 benefited them, the worst such ratio in the league.
  • The Knicks included detailed referee information in their game notes for the first two games of the series (Twitter link), which Bontemps describes as “unusual.”
  • The Sixers believe they should have been awarded a timeout at multiple points during a key inbounds play and possession late in Monday’s loss (Twitter video link). They also believe Tyrese Maxey was fouled during the play, with Jalen Brunson grabbing his jersey.

That inbounds play occurred with 27 seconds left in the game and the Sixers holding a two-point lead. Head coach Nick Nurse appeared to briefly signal for a timeout just before Kyle Lowry inbounded the ball to Maxey, who was held by Brunson. Maxey fell to the floor with the ball as Nurse attempted to call timeout again, but the Sixers lost possession before a timeout could be granted, leading to a Donte DiVincenzo go-ahead three-pointer.

“Well, the first thing is obviously they score,” Nurse said in describing the sequence after the game. “We take a look at getting it in quick. We don’t get it in quick. I call timeout. Referee looked right at me. Ignored me. Went into Tyrese, I called timeout again. Then the melee started.

“I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it. Would’ve been good. But, couldn’t get it.”

Joel Embiid was even more blunt in expressing his displeasure with the officiating.

“Everybody was trying to call a timeout on the floor,” Embiid said, per Bontemps. “Me included. Coach on the sideline. But they didn’t give it to us. But, forget about the timeout. There’s a bunch of fouls. That’s f—ing unacceptable. …That’s on the frigging referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened. … We fought for 47 minutes and whatever 20 seconds. For that to happen … that’s not OK.”

The Sixers weren’t the only team with complaints about the officiating after a tough Monday loss. As Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes, the Lakers also had gripes to share after losing to Denver 101-99 on a Jamal Murray buzzer beater.

Los Angeles was upset that a Michael Porter Jr. foul on D’Angelo Russell in the third quarter, which would have led to a pair of free throws, was overturned because the contact was deemed “marginal” (Twitter video link). Russell later tweeted, “That’s a foul we all saw it on national television.”

“D-Lo clearly gets hit in the face on a drive,” LeBron James said. “What the f–k do we have a replay center for if it’s going to go [like that]? It doesn’t make sense to me. … It bothers me. … And then I just saw what happened with the Sixers-Knicks game too. Like, what are we doing?”

As Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets, the Sixers’ grievance isn’t a formal protest of Game 2, so it won’t affect the outcome of Monday’s contest. It’s presumably just an attempt at gamesmanship on behalf of the 76ers, who will be looking to regain an edge in the series as the teams head to Philadelphia for Game 3.

For what it’s worth, Embiid remains very confident in his team’s ability to pull out the series despite facing a 2-0 deficit.

“We’re good,” Embiid told reporters on Monday, according to Bontemps. “We’re going to win this series. “We are going to win this. We know what we got to fix. We did a better job today, so we are going to fix it. We are the better team. We are going to keep fighting.”

Sixers’ Nick Nurse, Kelly Oubre Fined $50K Apiece

The NBA has fined Sixers head coach Nick Nurse and forward Kelly Oubre $50K each, the league announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

According to the NBA’s statement, Nurse was fined for “aggressively pursuing and verbally abusing” game officials, while Oubre got his fine as a result of “verbally abusing and directing an obscene gesture” toward game officials.

The incident in question occurred at the end of the Sixers’ one-point loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. With Philadelphia down 108-107 in the final seconds of the game, Oubre drove to the basket and appeared to draw contact with Paul George as the Clippers’ forward impeded his path to the rim (Twitter video link).

No foul was called, however, allowing the Clippers to hang onto their lead and leave with the victory. Nurse and Oubre both expressed their displeasure over the non-call to the referees following the buzzer, with Oubre in particular appearing to do so in colorful terms (Twitter video link).

Referee crew chief Kevin Scott admitted in a pool interview after the game that a foul should have been called on George on the game’s final play, while Oubre apologized to the officials during his post-game media session for “losing his cool.”

Latest On Bucks’ Coaching Situation

The Bucks have reached out to Doc Rivers to discuss having him take over their head coaching job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms.

As reported earlier in the day, Rivers is the top choice to replace first-year coach Adrian Griffin, who was abruptly fired on Tuesday.

CNN Sports, as relayed by the NBA on TNT, reported on Tuesday night that Rivers had accepted the position (video link). However, that report has yet to be corroborated by other media outlets.

Rivers already has a connection to the Bucks, having informally served as a consultant for Griffin this season at the behest of the club.

Here’s more on the Bucks’ coaching situation:

  • Griffin offered a diplomatic answer to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report regarding his dismissal: “I appreciate the opportunity the Bucks gave me. You can’t control everything,” Griffin said in a phone interview. “I feel good about the job we did. I appreciate my coaching staff for all their hard work. I always wanted to be a head coach in this league. I couldn’t have asked for a better roster. I got to coach Giannis (Antetokounpo), Dame (Lillard), Khris (Middleton), Brook (Lopez). Dream come true. Hopefully, I get another shot at it, but overall, I’m just thankful.”
  • Bucks general manager Jon Horst and assistant GM Milt Newton began closely observing practices and shootarounds in the last 10 days or so, Haynes reports in the same story.  That began raising the eyebrows of the coaching staff and players. If they don’t land Rivers, the Bucks also have Jeff Van Gundy and Nate McMillan on their short list of candidates, Haynes adds.
  • Griffin met with his top four players after the team’s loss to Indiana during the in-season tournament last month and they all spoke about what was working, what wasn’t working and how they could best be utilized. Griffin told the players that sacrifices were required, but bickering in the locker room continued shortly thereafter.
  • Griffin was hired at the endorsement of Antetokounmpo, but that endorsement had more to do with whom the two-time MVP didn’t want as head coach, writes Marc Stein at SubstackNick Nurse was high on the Bucks’ list of candidates before he was hired by the Sixers, according to Stein, who says Antetokounmpo wanted the franchise to go in a different direction and chose to back Griffin. Moving on from Griffin now was a far easier move than finding a difference-making trade, given Milwaukee’s limited assets, Stein adds.
  • When Lillard’s former head coach, Terry Stotts, chose to resign from the Bucks’ staff just prior to the season opener, the reason was that Griffin felt that he was being undermined by Stotts, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Stotts was brought in to mentor Griffin but they clashed on scheme and philosophy.

Atlantic Notes: Dolan, Embiid, Sixers, J. Porter

Knicks owner James Dolan has been accused of sexual assault, according to reports from Ben Sisario of The New York Times and Marjorie Hernandez and Selim Algar of The New York Post.

Dolan’s accuser, Kellye Croft, filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming that he pressured her into unwanted sex with him and that he coordinated an encounter with Harvey Weinstein, who allegedly sexually assaulted her. Croft worked as a masseuse on a 2013 tour headlined by The Eagles that also featured Dolan’s band, J.D. and the Straight Shot. The incidents with Dolan and Weinstein are said to have taken place in 2013 and 2014.

One of Dolan’s attorneys issued a statement saying that there is “absolutely no merit” to the allegations: “Kellye Croft and James Dolan had a friendship. Mr. Dolan always believed Ms. Croft to be a good person and is surprised she would agree to these claims. Bottom line, this is not a he said/she said matter and there is compelling evidence to back up our position. We look forward to proving that in court.”

Asked today about the lawsuit, commissioner Adam Silver didn’t have much to tell reporters so soon after the publication of the reports, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. “I saw the article and don’t know anything else about it other than I read the article so we’ll stand by and wait to find out more information,” Silver said.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Sixers star Joel Embiid, who returned on Monday from a three-game injury absence, said he’s not worried about meeting the 65-game requirement to qualify for end-of-season awards such as MVP. “It doesn’t matter how many games I play,” Embiid said (story via “The goal is to be healthy the rest of the year.” Embiid isn’t on the injury report for Tuesday’s contest vs. Denver, so it appears he’ll square off on the second night of a back-to-back set against fellow MVP Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.
  • Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at how Daryl Morey‘s and Nick Nurse‘s time together in Houston laid the groundwork for them to reunite with the Sixers. Nurse tells Mizell that he believes his history with Morey has given him a leg up during his first year in Philadelphia. “Where the relationship enhances what’s happened is the speed at which we can move things along,” the head coach said. “Because we know each other, it’s not this, ‘Where’s this guy coming from?’ six-month process. That part I think has been a big plus.”
  • Jontay Porter didn’t open the season on the Raptors‘ roster, but the two-way big man has appeared in each of the team’s past seven games and earned his first start on Monday vs. Boston. Given how Porter has performed so far in Toronto, he could turn out to be a developmental win at a key position for an organization that has lacked those under-the-radar success stories in recent years, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic.

Sixers Extend Daryl Morey Through 2027/28

10:22am: The extension is official, the Sixers have announced in a press release.

“Daryl is one of the best front office executives in sports and I greatly value his leadership,” team owner Josh Harris said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to have reached an agreement to extend his contract and look forward to working together to maximize our chances of competing for an NBA title.”

10:07am: The Sixers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey have agreed on an extension that will keep Morey under contract through the 2027/28 season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Morey has been the head of basketball operations in Philadelphia since the 2020 offseason, following his departure from his longtime position in Houston’s front office.

The 76ers went 154-82 (.653) in Morey’s first three seasons on the job, winning a playoff series each spring before being eliminated in the second round of the postseason. The team is off to a 16-7 start this fall.

Drafting Tyrese Maxey and extending Joel Embiid have been among the highlights of Morey’s tenure in Philadelphia. He also had to navigate Ben Simmons‘ trade request, eventually sending the former No. 1 overall pick to Brooklyn in a multi-player deal for James Harden, who subsequently demanded a trade of his own and was dealt to the Clippers last month.

While he was waiting to be traded, Harden referred to Morey as a “liar,” claiming that the Sixers’ front office hadn’t delivered on their promise to resolve his situation quickly. Given today’s news, it doesn’t appear that Harden’s criticisms of Morey negatively impacted the executive’s standing in the organization at all.

One of Morey’s other notable recent moves was hiring Nick Nurse to replace Doc Rivers as the 76ers’ head coach this past spring. As Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter), Morey’s new extension means that his and Nurse’s contracts are now aligned — both will expire in 2028.

Morey’s initial contract with the Sixers was for five years, so the extension will add three new years, notes Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports (Twitter link).

Sixers Notes: Trade Targets, Harden, Maxey, Embiid, Harris, Martin

Raptors forward OG Anunoby is a player to watch as the Sixers try to remake their roster following the James Harden trade, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a conversation with Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scotto states that Nick Nurse is a huge fan of Anunoby after coaching him in Toronto, and he would be a good fit with the current roster on both offense and defense. Scotto also points out that the Sixers would have plenty of cap room to re-sign Anunoby when he becomes a free agent next summer.

Sources tell Scotto that Philadelphia may eye a few other trade targets such as Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic. He hears the Sixers aren’t interested in pursuing Karl-Anthony Towns to play alongside Joel Embiid because he hasn’t meshed well with Rudy Gobert on the Timberwolves. Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan would provide scoring punch, but he also brings spacing issues to the offense. Scotto doesn’t believe Philadelphia currently has interest in either Raptors forward Pascal Siakam or Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant.

Pompey doesn’t see another ball-dominant scorer as an ideal fit because of Tyrese Maxey‘s strong play to open the season. Anunoby’s defense and Bogdanovic’s outside shooting would be more valuable, according to Pompey, and they’re likely to cost less than some of the other hypothetical targets.

Scotto and Pompey offer more on the Sixers:

  • The Clippers‘ offer that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey accepted for James Harden was the only legitimate one he received, according to Pompey. He speculates that the organization wanted to unload Harden before he was reintroduced to the team and possibly caused a distraction, and there was concern that L.A.’s interest in Harden might lessen if the team got off to a strong start. Scotto hears that the Knicks called about Harden but never made a serious offer, while the Heat weren’t involved at all.
  • The Sixers believe it will take a max contract to keep Maxey in free agency next summer, Scotto hears. The fourth-year guard has excelled as the leader of the offense with Harden sidelined, but Scotto believes the organization has to determine whether he’s best suited as a point guard or shooting guard.
  • Embiid is “monitoring the situation” to see if Morey can build a legitimate contender before making any decisions about his future, Pompey states. The Sixers are currently optimistic about keeping him happy, but Pompey warns that another early playoff exit could prompt him to ask for a trade during the offseason.
  • The Sixers will be interested in re-signing Tobias Harris, but they can’t give him close to a max contract because of how much they’ll have to pay Maxey and possibly others, Pompey adds. He points out that Philadelphia has Harris’ Bird rights, which will help with his next contract but would eat into the club’s cap room.
  • Sources tell Scotto that the Sixers are “intrigued” with Kenyon Martin Jr., who was part of the return from the Clippers in the Harden deal, and may consider re-signing him next summer if he plays well.

Sixers Notes: New Additions, Oubre, Trade Targets, Harden

The four players the Sixers acquired in their James Harden trade with the Clippers – Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, and Kenyon Martin Jr. – arrived at the team’s facility on Wednesday but are unlikely to play on Thursday vs. Toronto, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Saturday’s home game against Phoenix is a more realistic target for those newcomers, Mizell adds.

Meanwhile, even though Harden hadn’t played yet this season for the 76ers, the deal removes a starter from the team’s lineup — since arriving in Philadelphia in 2022, P.J. Tucker had started all 89 regular season and playoff games he’d played for the club.

Forward Kelly Oubre will start in Tucker’s place for now, head coach Nick Nurse told reporters on Wednesday, but that may not be a permanent change. As Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports explains (via Twitter), Nurse has said he likes the spark Oubre has provided off the bench, so he may want to return Oubre to that role once Morris, Batum, Covington, and Martin are up to speed, with one of those ex-Clippers moving into the starting five.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype and Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscriber link) each identified some players the Sixers may target on the trade market using their newly acquired draft assets, weighing the likelihood of those players becoming available this season and evaluating whether Philadelphia has the pieces to land them. A pair of Bulls (Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan) and Raptors (Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby) show up on both lists, which also feature a few other names.
  • The draft assets the Sixers are receiving and their ability to move on from the Harden saga have been frequently cited in the last 36 hours as the most important aspects of Philadelphia’s trade with the Clippers. But the deal will also improve the 76ers’ depth, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who notes that Tucker’s role had declined, Filip Petrusev wasn’t ready for rotation minutes as a rookie, and Harden – of course – had yet to actually suit up for a game this season.
  • When Harden showed up for the Sixers’ team flight last Wednesday after the team asked him to stay behind in Philadelphia and he wasn’t permitted to board the plane, it “inflamed the situation” on both sides and represented the “final straw” in the club’s efforts to reincorporate him, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Trade discussions with the Clippers resumed a couple days later and picked up steam after that, per Shelburne.
  • Shelburne’s story on Harden’s final days is chock full of interesting tidbits, including the fact that Harden communicated directly with head coach Nick Nurse, general manager Elton Brand, and owner Josh Harris after making his trade request, but would only communicate with president Daryl Morey through agent Michael Silverman.
  • Shelburne also hears from sources that Harden’s camp became convinced ahead of free agency in June that if he declined his option, Morey and the 76ers only intended to offer him a two-year deal with a second-year team option. The team, wary of gun-jumping after being penalized for it in 2022, insisted it would make a strong offer once free agency opened, but Harden “didn’t buy it,” Shelburne writes.