Why will the Philadelphia 76ers fine James Harden $389,000 per game?

James Harden-Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden finds himself in muddy water with his team’s front office. The star Sixers point guard has been persistent for a trade since the start of the off-season this year. Harden joined the 76ers in 2022 after the Brooklyn Nets traded him and Paul Milsap to Philadelphia in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond.

At Philadelphia, Harden still faced tough luck in progressing through playoffs or for title contention. The 2018 MVP’s best playoff performance came during a 2022 Game 1 of the first-round playoffs when he scored a double-double of 22 points and 14 assists in a 131-111 win over the Toronto Raptors.

But it seems like Harden’s clock for staying at the Sixers has been ticking fast. Here is why Harden might face a massive $389,000 fine per game, much reminiscent of Ben Simmons during his final days as a Sixer.

James Harden might face a $389,000 fine per game if he sits out for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season

After his initial stint with the Sixers in the 2021-22 season, Harden resigned on a two-year $68,600,000 deal, which includes a player option for the 2023-24 season. Although Harden did pick his $35,600,000 option, it was all in hopes of being traded, preferably to the Los Angeles Clippers, as talks were underway.

As the talks between the Clippers and the 76ers stalled, Harden went on a furious public rant to lambast Sixers basketball operations president Daryl Morey. Despite having a blossoming and close relationship with Morey previously, Harden publicly stated: “Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be part of an organization .”

Harden ranted about his trade situation and Daryl Morey ‘publicly’ while touring China. His statement gained much attention across the NBA community and the media, with the league slapping him with $100,000 for such remarks and public trade demands.

The NBA Players Association and the fans side with Harden in this regard and vehemently condemn the league’s decision to fine the player. The Association also intends to file a grievance, disputing the $100,000 fine on Harden’s comments expressing his displeasure with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers are determined to have Harden long-term and boost their title contention chances. Going by Harden’s persistence in a strained relationship with the Sixers, there is a high probability that the Sixers point guard might purposefully sit out on games when the season begins. If so, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski predicts Harden might face a penalty of $389,000 per game.

This is similar to Ben Simmons’ situation, who lost over $19,000,000 in fines after missing games for the Sixers. Simmons declined to practice or show up from his camp, initially citing bad back and mental health issues. The Sixers fined the All-Star a cumulative amount of more than $19,000,000 for missing crucial games through the 2022 trade deadline.

As the fiasco between Harden and the Sixers gets messier, Joel Embiid seems to be hinting at a possible trade from Philadelphia. The 2023 MVP has removed Philadelphia and the words ‘The Process’ from his ‘X’ profile. It’s worth noting that Embiid is a crucial player for the Sixers’ ‘process’ of transitioning into a championship contender. Perhaps, with such chaos around, the Sixers front office might want to settle such issues with their players before stepping into the upcoming season.