Rachel Nichols Says Joel Embiid, Not Daryl Morey, Is Main Reason James Harden Wants Out Of Philly

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden wants to be traded. The former NBA MVP has gone on record multiple times saying Sixers president of basketball operations lied to him about receiving a long-term contract extension following the 2022-23 season.

Harden also says Morey promised him that if he took a team-friendly deal for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 season that he’d receive a lucrative deal. Well, that didn’t happen and Harden isn’t happy, even calling Morey a liar while on his Adidas tour in China. 

But new reports say Harden isn’t really upset with Morey not paying him but peeved that reigning MVP Joel Embiid is the top guy in Philly and not him.

Per FS1’s Rachel Nichols, who made her debut on “Undisputed” on Thursday, that’s the real reason Harden wants out. 

Nichols Says Harden Still Believes He’s No.1 Option Material

Over the past few seasons Harden has seen a decline in his offensive skill set. While still very good, he’s nowhere near the MVP-caliber weapon he once was. During her appearance Thursday, Nichols mentioned just that about Harden. 

“He still thinks of himself as the guy from the Game 1 [in the 2023 Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Celtics, where he scored 45 points in a victory] … he thinks he should be leading the show. The reason why he wants one of Philadelphia in the first place is that it’s Joel Embiid’s show right now.”

If this is true, Harden is insane to think he’d be the No. 1 option on a team with Embiid. In fact, Harden at this stage of his career might not be the first option on any of the current 30 NBA teams, and definitely not Philly, where Embiid just captured his league MVP. 

Harden Wanted To Go To The Rockets Or Clippers? 

When the offseason began it was believed that Harden would possibly head back to Houston. But the hiring of former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka killed that noise, as Udoka let it be known that the Rockets had no interest. Harden also tried to force his way to the Los Angeles Clippers, but the team refused to include rising swingman Terence Mann, whom the Sixes coveted, halting any deal. 

Nichols‘ comments may not seem too far-fetched, because back in June we saw Harden at a club eating Trillburgers instead of attending Embiid’s wedding.

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