James Harden And Daryl Morey Are Finally Breaking Up So What Does It Mean?

One of the NBA’s longstanding love affairs has likely come to an end. Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden opted into the last year of his deal for next season to facilitate a trade out of town and away from team president Daryl Morey.

Harden And Morey Been Making Beautiful Music Since 2012

Morey and Harden’s relationship goes all the way back to 2012, when the then-Houston Rockets general manager saw that the lefty Sixth Man of the Year from the Oklahoma City Thunder could be a leading man.

What followed was some of the best offensive basketball we’ve ever seen from an individual player. From 2013-2020 Harden finished in the 96th percentile or better in EPM and finished first overall in 2018 and 2019. He was a three-time scoring champ, and two-time assists champ. He finished second twice, third and won the league MVP during that same stretch. He was a seven-time All-NBA and seven-time All-Star during his Rockets tenure.

Morey would wax poetically to anyone who would listen about the greatness of “The Beard.”

In 2019 while on the 100 Thieves’ “Selfmade” podcast Morey made the argument that Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan.

“It’s just factual that James Harden is a better scorer than Michael Jordan. … You give James Harden the ball and before you’re giving up the ball how many points do you generate, which is how you should measure offense, James Harden is by far No 1 in NBA history.”

Morey is a data man, and he’s not wrong, according to the data. Now that is a byproduct of playing over different eras and the current prevalence of the three-point shot and the number of possessions being increased. Something Morey did not mentionin that same interview.

“Now the counterargument is reasonable,” Morey said. “They say if you put Michael Jordan on a team now, he would do more than James Harden. That’s possible. But if you’re just saying like NBA history … if you give this guy a ball, how much does his team score after you give him the ball before the other team gets the ball, it’s James Harden. And I know that makes people mad, but it’s literally a fact.” 

Who wouldn’t love a guy that talks about him like that?!

Don’t Mess With A Guy’s Money

When Morey left the Rockets and eventually took over in Philadelphia, he always wanted to reunite with Harden. When things went south in Brooklyn, where Harden was playing with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, he forced a trade to reunite with Morey in Philadelphia.

Now, last season Harden negotiated a lesser deal with the 76ers with the expectation that his good buddy Morey would pay him big bucks and a guaranteed max contract this summer. But Harden is, according to sources, very upset at the way in which the Sixers handled his possible free agency and has made it clear he’s not happy with the organization.

As cool as it seemed Morey and Harden were, the one thing that will sour any relationship is messing with a player’s money.

Now, it’s being reported that Harden is pushing to return home to Los Angeles and play for the Clippers. That of course will form the latest version of a “super team.” But Morey isn’t obligated to move Harden where he wants. He’s going to do what’s best for the Sixers, Harden be damned.

Tough way to end a very fruitful relationship.

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