The James Harden situation appears to have accelerated towards disaster this week as the former league MVP blew off practice on Wednesday and apparently has been in Houston for a few days. There's been no communication from Harden's camp with the Philadelphia 76ers as to why he has gone rogue. Everybody in sports media is labeling this as the first step Harden will take towards his end goal of forcing Daryl Morey to trade him through any means necessary.
However, everybody in sports media seems real sick of talking about Harden at this point. Which is a surprise in many regards. This sort of drama is what has driven a large part of attention towards the NBA in the last five or so years. If anything it makes for excellent daytime television fodder; producers will throw it in the A-block, sit back, let the talking heads riff for as long as they want. But the Harden fatigue is real and it showed today on First Take.
ESPN brought Brian Windhorst onto the show to chat about the Sixers' situation and Stephen A. Smith decided it was time to monologue, kicking off a six-minute soap box by telling Harden to grow up.
It is obviously impossible to disagree. We're watching a grown man prepare to throw a literal tantrum in order to get what he wants. And it seems he's not the only one prone to that because a story from The Athletic on the Harden situation from yesterday did not paint Daryl Morey in the best light; he accused the Los Angeles Clippers of being "unserious" when they refused to increase their offer for Harden. Because why would they? It would appear Harden and Morey were always the perfect match-- even though it's for the wrong reasons this time.
And if the talking heads are sick of this then you can bet your bottom dollar all the viewers are, too. Even we basement bloggers ran out of enthusiasm for writing James Harden Trade Destinations articles a month ago. Player movement can be fun, and watching a hard-headed athlete take on his own team certainly retains entertainment value (even on the third time around for Harden) but it is getting ridiculous.
Will Harden show up? Will Harden play? Will the Sixers get fair value for him? Will they be forced to sell low? These are questions that have been asked for three full months now and we are no closer to an answer. The Harden trade demand story has run out of juice unless he does something nuts in the lead-up to the Sixers' season opener next week.
Which is not out of the question by any means, and why we can't stop talking about it. Smith is right that Harden needs to grow up but if the scoring champ does the opposite and throws a tantrum akin to that of a toddler, he better buckle up. It'll be all Harden on the chyrons for a while yet.