The Sixers are reportedly deep in talks with the Rockets on a potential mega-deal that would send James Harden to Philly, though it remains to be seen if the Nets can beat the Sixers’ offer. The final cost for Harden also remains unclear.
What does seem clear, however, is that Harden made the situation so toxic in Houston that the team has absolutely no choice but to trade him to save the rest of their season.
That’s how Rockets forward DeMarcus Cousins made things sound Wednesday, when he did not hold back in addressing Harden’s attitude amid his ongoing trade demands this season.
The animosity reached a head Tuesday night when Harden called his situation «something that I don’t think can be fixed».
Per The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Cousins didn’t appreciate Harden’s candor:
«My interest is to play with John Wall, to be brutally honest. … The (Harden) disrespect started way before. This isn’t something that, you know, all of a sudden started last night. … It’s completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room.»
Well dang! That’s about as unambiguous as it gets. Cousins is sick of being Harden’s teammate, just 10 games into the season and just months after Russell Westbrook demanded out of Houston.
Throughout the Sixers’ Joel Embiid-Ben Simmons era, the team has tried to prioritize culture and camaraderie (one tumultuous flirtation with Jimmy Butler aside), going so far as to encourage Embiid and Simmons to become better pals this year to help their on-court relationship.
Bringing in someone like Harden, who seems in this case to be primarily focused on his own happiness over the team’s synergy, would feel like a departure from the happy-go-lucky Sixers approach.
But if Harden is good enough to win a title… is it worth jeopardizing the locker room?
It’s not an easy decision, but it’s one Daryl Morey will have to make, and soon.