Here’s why James Harden will have a rough time holding out from Philadelphia 76ers’ training camp
As I’m sure you’ve watched by now, James Harden was in China at an Adidas event and called Sixers’ GM Daryl Morey a “liar” while stating he would never play basketball for a team that he’s a part of again.
While that was certainly a bold move from James Harden, looking for a way out of Philadelphia this season might not come as easy as he hopes.
James Harden is a former NBA MVP and is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. So of course, he believes that if he wants something, then he deserves to get it and honestly, that’s just the way the NBA has operated over the past decade. Superstar players usually get exactly what they want as team owners and the league itself meet their demands.
Nobody knows that better than James Harden.
When Harden wanted to leave the Houston Rockets, he made several statements to the media, basically crying and forcing his way out of town. He then went to Brooklyn, on a team that featured both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and did the same exact thing.
Now, after being dealt to Philly in a deal to rid the Sixers of Ben Simmons, Harden is yet again complaining and causing a gigantic shit-show trying to force his way out.
Harden is 34 years old. Again, he is still one of the greatest to ever play the game but at the same time, there has been a clear regression in his game.
I don’t care if Daryl Morey and the Sixers promised him a contract extension or if James Harden took a pay cut on his initial 2-year deal with the Sixers. He could have tested free agency and all things considered, he likely did and STILL didn’t find the contract he was expecting.
Why would he?
Nobody wants James Harden and if you look at his numbers, it’s easy to see why
In Games 6 and 7 of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, Harden shot just 26 percent from the floor. He averaged only 11 points per game while shooting a MISERABLE 1-11 from three point range.
In the LAST 10 elimination games in the playoffs, Harden has been on teams that posted a 1-11 record while shooting 39% from the floor (25% from three) while averaging 6.8 assists and 5.9 turnovers per game.
James Harden wants out now. Obviously. This is the least surprising news ever.
Harden will however, find it difficult to do so, which means YET AGAIN, we are in for another miserable start to the Philadelphia 76ers basketball season.
Harden will not find it easy to just sit out this season thanks to a new clause in the NBA CBA which directly addresses players “withholding services”.
Here’s the CBA language for Withholding Services:
Withholding services: A player who withholds playing services called for by a Player Contract for more than thirty (30) days after the start of the last Season covered by his Player Contract shall be deemed not to have “complet[ed] his Player Contract by rendering the playing services called for thereunder.” Accordingly, such a player shall not be a Veteran Free Agent and shall not be entitled to negotiate or sign a Player Contract with any other professional basketball team unless and until the Team for which the player last played expressly agreed otherwise.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explains:
Holding out is really difficult in the NBA. The collective bargaining agreement makes it very difficult for players to simply say we’re not going to render services. You don’t then get to go into free agency the next year if you miss 30 consecutive days. That team keeps your — essentially keeps your rights. You don’t get to go out into free agency.
So you can’t just sit out on your way to your next destination. James Harden’s gotta show people he still can continue to play at a high level, he could be in great condition, but certainly if he shows up in Philadelphia, the idea of a James Harden who’s not invested, who doesn’t want to be there, especially on a team where listen, you can make the case they may not be good enough anyway to win a championship.
Okay so basically, that means Harden, who is entering the final year on his contract with the Sixers, would not become a free agent unless the 76ers allowed him to do so by not enforcing the Withholding Services Clause.
The kicker is that if the 76ers do take that route, then they would have to count Harden’s $36.5 million this season against their cap next season. So it’s not as “clean cut” as you’d imagine.
We’ll see how this all plays out but you have to think that there will be some type of compromise between the Sixers and Harden to avoid the above clause and the Sixers eating up cap space beyond this season.