James Harden was a no-show for the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, missing media day. ESPN reported, however, that Harden is expected to join the team at Colorado State University, where Philadelphia will train this week, and maybe as early as Tuesday.
How long it will be before he takes the court was unclear.
Harden has voiced his desire to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers as the third star on the team, joining Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Sixers and Clippers haven’t made much progress on a potential deal.
Harden already has been paid 50% of the $35.64 million due to him this year — a prepayment option many players choose to take — according to ESPN.
Team president Daryl Morey said Monday that he continues to try to work on the trade front. If Harden returns to the 76ers and plays the upcoming season, new head coach Nick Nurse plans to get him involved.
“In terms of a trade, I will continue to work on those fronts and, if he’s here, then Coach will work with him on the court. I think it’s pretty straight forward,” Morey said. “He continues to seek a trade and we are continuing to work with his representation to find the best solution for the 76ers and all parties.”
A 14-year veteran who has played for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and 76ers, Harden has career averages of 24.7 points, 7.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds in 1,000 games (786 starts). He led the league in scoring three times, and last year, his 10.7 assists per game were the most in the NBA.
A 10-time All-Star, Harden was the league’s Most Valuable Player in the 2017-18 season and is a six-time All-NBA first-team selection.
The 76ers are at Colorado State through Friday, then will play their first preseason game on Sunday in Boston against the retooled Celtics.