The league last week launched an inquiry into the circumstances around Harden’s comments on Aug. 14 and 17, which the NBA said indicated “he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team.”
The investigation found that the comments stemmed from Harden’s belief that the team would not accommodate his trade request, the NBA said in a statement. An interview with Harden was part of the investigation.
Harden’s comments that he would never be part of an organization that included Morey played a bigger part in the fine, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It touched on the league’s rules concerning public trade demands.
At a publicity stop for his line of Adidas basketball shoes Aug. 14 in China, Harden called Morey a “liar” and said he would “never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.”
On Aug. 17, Harden replied to a KHOU 11 television reporter in Houston, “I think so,” when asked whether his relationship with the Sixers was “beyond repair.”
Said Harden: “I’ve been patient all summer. For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”
Philadelphia informed Harden that it hadn’t found a suitable trade with his preferred destination of the LA Clippers and that it expected him to report to the team’s training camp in September — something sources say Harden plans to do. Despite public speculation, Harden has made no allegations of a previous handshake agreement with the Sixers on a future contract.
Harden, who turns 34 this month, exercised his $35.6 million option for the 2023-24 season in June with an expectation that Morey would work with him on finding a trade to the Clippers, sources said. The Sixers and Clippers engaged in numerous conversations but never gained traction on a deal, sources said.