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James Harden biggest problem: himself, not Daryl Morey

James Harden is being ridiculous and calling out the Philadelphia 76ers' GM, but he has no leverage and will likely stay on the team.

Welcome to The Morning Win, our daily newsletter where we bring you irreverent and incisive sports stories. Today, we have Mike Sykes discussing James Harden's trade request from the Philadelphia 76ers and his recent comments about General Manager Daryl Morey.

Let's address something before we dive in. When it comes to conflicts between players and organizations in sports, I tend to side with the players. After all, multi-billion dollar organizations and their executives don't need our support.

However, in the case of James Harden, I must say he is behaving completely absurdly.

As most of you know, Harden has requested a trade from the 76ers. Over the weekend, it was reported that the team is rejecting his trade requests because they couldn't find a favorable deal for a player who has been on three different teams in the past three seasons.

Now, Harden is taking a more aggressive approach to force his way out of Philly. His strategy? Calling out General Manager Daryl Morey, who has accommodated his every need throughout his career, and labeling him a liar.

Early on Monday, The Athletic's Shams Charania shared a video of Harden accusing Morey of dishonesty and vowing to never play for a team that Morey is a part of.

Let me reiterate: "Daryl Morey is a liar, and I will never be a part of an organization that he's a part of."

We can't be certain about the exact nature of their disagreement. However, it seems likely that Harden is unhappy with the lack of a long-term contract offer from the 76ers.

Last season, he took a pay cut when he re-signed with the team to improve their financial flexibility. Harden claimed that the pay cut demonstrated his strong desire to win in Philadelphia. Yet, he spent the rest of the season complaining about his role, flirting with the Houston Rockets, and building leverage for the max deal he desired.

The Rockets deal fell through, leaving Harden without a dance partner. The 76ers didn't immediately offer him the max deal he wanted, and he suddenly decided he wanted out. But here's the confusing part – he opted into his contract. It's hard to make sense of it all.

James Harden's behavior is simply not serious. Since leaving the Rockets, he has complained about every situation he has been in. He has repeatedly failed in the playoffs. When the 76ers needed him the most this season, he didn't deliver. That's why the robust market he anticipated doesn't exist and won't materialize.

I don't want to be seen as defending Daryl Morey. He treats his players like pawns rather than human beings. He is willing to create uncomfortable situations to achieve his desired outcome, even at a cost. Just ask Ben Simmons.

If Morey did promise Harden a secret max deal when he took the pay cut, then he did deceive him. It's understandable why Harden would be upset about that. He lost a significant amount of money in this process.

However, given Harden's recent track record, it's hard to solely blame Morey. Why should the 76ers commit to someone who hasn't shown commitment to the team? Harden hasn't made the Philadelphia team better, and that's a fact.

Harden can say whatever he wants, but he has no leverage. He is under contract, a deal he opted into. He will be a Philadelphia 76er when the next season begins, and likely when it ends too.

This is his own doing, and he needs to face it seriously.

In other news:

- CJ Okoye, a newcomer to the NFL, played his first football game and already recorded a sack. It's an impressive start, and Charles Curtis has more on this story.
- Robert Zeglinski captured Garrett Wilson expertly trolling Sean Payton on the sideline. It's a must-see moment.
- Bryan Kalbrosky provides a comprehensive list of the highest-rated rookies in NBA 2k over the past decade. Wemby takes the crown.
- Lastly, we ranked the NFL stadiums from best to worst. Commanders, it's time for a new stadium.

Have a fantastic Monday, and remember to be kind to one another.

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