Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden was hoping for a different outcome.
The veteran guard revealed Friday that he originally wanted to finish his career with the franchise but said the front office was planning on going in a different direction.
“When I got traded here, my whole thing was I wanted to retire a Sixer,” Harden said, according to PHLY Sports’ Kyle Neubeck. “I wanted to be here and retire a Sixer. And the front office didn’t have that in their future plans.”
He added: “It’s out of my control. It’s something that I didn’t want to happen, to be in this position. But I have to make a decision for my family. I understand that it’s a business.”
Harden attended training camp earlier in October after skipping media day amid his ongoing trade request. The veteran guard accepted his $35.6-million player option in June with the intention of working with Philadelphia to find a trade, reportedly favoring the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Sixers took him off the trade market in August, which prompted Harden to call president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “a liar.” He was fined $100,000 for his comments.
Harden said the communication between him and Morey deteriorated after the Sixers were eliminated in the postseason. The tandem has had a professional relationship since the then-Houston Rockets general manager traded for the guard.
“Me and the front office had a very, very good relationship for a decade,” Harden said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “There was constant communication, you know what I mean? There was no communication once we lost.”
The 34-year-old plans to play in the team’s preseason finale against the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 20 and into the regular season, according to Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Harden said he doesn’t think his relationship with the franchise can be repaired, comparing it to losing trust in a marriage, per PHLY Sports.
The 76ers reportedly plan to flip a potential package from the Clippers for another All-Star guard to replace Harden, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. L.A. is reportedly trying to add draft capital to sweeten its offer for Harden.
Over his tenure with the franchise, Harden has averaged 21 points, 10.6 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game.
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