The relationship between Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden and longtime NBA executive Daryl Morey has lasted for over a decade, and now the tension has reached a boiling point.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted out a video Monday morning of Harden in China calling Morey a “liar.”
James Harden: “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of. Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.” pic.twitter.com/AmHJ0WwbF2— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 14, 2023
The words come after Harden requested a trade from the 76ers this offseason and Philadelphia announced that the team had taken him off the trade market.
Harden, who turns 34 later this month, averaged 21 points and a league-high 10.7 assists per game this season in his first full year in Philadelphia.
Back in 2012, Morey, then-general manager of the Houston Rockets, acquired Harden in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder following a Sixth Man of the Year campaign that ended in an NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat.
Harden then went on to spend nine years with the Rockets, winning an MVP award in 2018 and making two Western Conference Finals appearances. Despite his success, Houston never reached the Finals with Harden as its centerpiece.
In 2020, after Morey left the Rockets, Harden requested a trade. Some two or three months later, that request was fulfilled to the Brooklyn Nets.
Morey, now president of basketball operations for the 76ers, tried to acquire Harden from the Rockets, but Houston preferred the package of picks and unprotected swaps offered by Brooklyn.
However, less than two seasons into Harden’s era in Brooklyn, he requested another trade, and that’s when Morey and the Sixers swooped in, reuniting the pair.
Now, it appears the relationship has gone incredibly sour as Harden is publicly calling Morey a liar in China, where he has been in hot water in the past.
In 2019, Morey tweeted “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong”, provoking serious backlash from the Chinese government. Morey’s tweet created a ripple effect that caused China to briefly boycott the NBA.
The move to lead up to this point has many layers and only makes Harden’s trade request that much more complicated.