LOS ANGELES (AFP) — James Harden joined his Philadelphia 76ers at their Colorado training camp on Wednesday as his dispute with the NBA team, marked by his trade demand, rumbled on.
Harden had missed the team’s media day on Monday and the first day of training on Tuesday.
But new 76ers coach Nick Nurse told reporters he was impressed with the former NBA Most Valuable Player’s attitude and his communication with his teammates.
“He’s been great,” said Nurse, who took over in June replacing Doc Rivers, who was fired after Philadelphia were eliminated by Boston in the second round of the playoffs.
“Our guys were very focused,” former Toronto Raptors coach Nurse said. “They asked him some good questions. To me, he (Harden) is preaching hard work, discipline, responsibility and the kind of stuff that’s great to hear.”
According to media reports, Harden hasn’t dropped his demand to be traded to another team.
The NBA fined the 10-time All-Star $100,000 in August after he said he wouldn’t play for the Sixers under general manager Daryl Morey, who he branded “a liar.”
Harden said in subsequent media interviews that Morey had gone back on a promise to trade him quickly earlier in the off-season.
Morey had brought Harden to Philadelphia in a trade from the reeling Brooklyn Nets in February of 2022.
The Sixers hoped the addition of the three-time NBA scoring champion would help the team finally challenge for the title.
However, the team led by reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid exited in the second round the past two seasons, and the 76ers declined to offer Harden the hefty contract extension he had hoped for.
Philadelphia forward Tobias Harris said Wednesday the drama wouldn’t affect the team’s preparations for the upcoming season, which they open on 26 October against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“We’re all grown men here, so everybody understands the business of the game of basketball at this point,” Harris said, adding: “His participation, in my opinion, is addressing that he’s here, and his attitude and energy today allowed everybody to understand that he wants to go out there and compete with us.”