Many believed that when the Philadelphia 76ers‘ training camp started, James Harden would make a fuss, given his previous behavior when in situations he doesn’t like. But that has not been the case, according to teammate Tyrese Maxey.
“First of all, Imma give a shoutout to James,” Maxey told J.J. Redick on the October 12 episode of Redick’s “The Old Man & The Three” podcast. “He didn’t make it weird at all. He came in and he was very, like, not what I was expecting. He was very receptive. He worked hard. He did all the drills. He was talking to, even like, young guys that he didn’t know. James Harden, MVP, scoring champ, two-time assist leader, he’s sitting there talking to guys like Ricky Council, ‘Hey, when you’re help, you should do this.’ It’s not what I was picturing.”
Harden had requested a trade from the Sixers after opting in for the final year of his contract. In August, he called Sixers general manager Daryl Morey “a liar” and said he would “never be a part of an organization that [Morey’s] a part of.”
However, per Maxey and another teammate, Tobias Harris, Harden has acted like a professional at training camp.
“He’s here and his attitude and energy today allowed everybody to understand that he wants to go out there and compete with us,” Harris told reporters.
Tyrese Maxey Praises Kelly Oubre Jr.
“Me and (De’Anthony Melton) was sitting on a bench today, and I was just saying what he brings defensively, we know that he brings offense,” Tyrese Maxey told reporters, per Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin. “He averaged 20 last year with Charlotte. So he shoots the ball well, he’s able to get to the cup, he’s cutting, he can do all those different things, and he can play off guys.”
Maxey said he believed Oubre would fit well with the Sixers’ best players when the roster is at full strength.
“I feel like when Joel comes back and James and whatever situation he’s got going on, he’s gonna be a really good guy to play with them,” Maxey said. “Then myself as well.”
Oubre may never get that chance with Harden, but pairing another scorer next to Maxey and Embiid could make for one interesting wrinkle.
Doc Rivers Says Where He Thinks It All Went Wrong
The Sixers fired former head coach Doc Rivers in May, before the chaos between the franchise and Harden ensued. Rivers himself revealed where he believes everything went wrong between the two sides during an appearance on ESPN’s “NBA Today.”
“Once you saw James opt in, you knew there was trouble in paradise. You just knew that,” Rivers said on the show’s October 11 episode. “I believe he believed that he was going to get taken care of at some point. He didn’t, and he’s upset by it. Then the Sixers, on the other hand, are thinking more team-wise and future-wise and what they want to do, so it’s a tough situation. I would be surprised if it’s resolved unless there is a trade.”