Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey admitted to 97.5 The Fanatic on Tuesday that James Harden prefers “to be somewhere else” but said the team would only trade him for a player that would keep the Sixers a title contender.
Harden opted into his $35.6 million deal for the 2023-24 season ahead of free agency with the intention of being traded. He reportedly wants to play for the LA Clippers.
Morey, who spent eight seasons with Harden on the Houston Rockets, said he is “attempting to honor” Harden’s request but only at the right price.
“If we don’t get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, then we’re just not going to do it,” Morey told The Fanatic, according to the Philly Voice. “If James were to turn his mind around, we would all be thrilled. You’ve heard [Joel Embiid‘s] comments about that. But at this moment he prefers to be traded, and we are attempting to honor that.”
The interview comes a day after a video went viral of Embiid saying he wants to win a championship “whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else.” Morey stressed the need to make sure the team remains competitive next season, regardless of what happens.
“We need to make sure that Joel Embiid, who is one of the best players on Earth, has a top running mate,” Morey said. “…we know we need more talent, whether that’s James returning or what we turn James into.”
Morey also addressed an offseason that saw the Sixers lose three rotation players in Jalen McDaniels, Shake Milton and Georges Niang, saying the team wants to maintain flexibility moving forward. Embiid and P.J. Tucker ($11.5 million player option) are the only players with guaranteed money on the Sixers’ books for the 2024-25 season.
“So what we’re attempting to do is have the best team possible this year, but also have the ability that, if we get into a next season situation, to be a very unique team with the most cap room of a team that’s as good as us,” Morey said.