Explore the mysterious NBA investigation into James Harden’s absence during the 76ers’ big game and the secret reason that could have changed it all.
The NBA has initiated an investigation into the Philadelphia 76ers and the conduct of their star guard, James Harden, regarding his participation in the opening night showdown against the Milwaukee Bucks. The league’s new player participation policy, aimed at enhancing star players’ availability for national television games, is being put to an early test in Harden’s case.
Before the 76ers’ narrow 118-117 loss to the Bucks, league spokesperson Michael Bass stated, “We are delving into the circumstances surrounding James Harden’s presence tonight to ascertain if there exists a legitimate reason for his non-participation.”
The Sixers made the somewhat unconventional decision to keep Harden in Philadelphia even though he had returned to the team following a 10-day absence for what was described as a “personal matter.” The organization’s rationale was that Harden would be better suited to get into game shape by staying at the team’s practice facility, working closely with the Sixers’ development coaches and medical staff.
Harden had expressed a desire to accompany the team on their opening road trip to Milwaukee and Toronto, but the Sixers believed he wasn’t physically prepared to play after an extended absence. Compounding matters, his only preseason scrimmage took place on October 7 in Boston, further raising doubts about his readiness for the season debut.
The NBA’s player participation policy does allow for exemptions in cases of injury, personal reasons, and “rare and unusual circumstances.” The league can impose a $100,000 fine for a first offense, with stiffer penalties for subsequent violations.
Harden’s decision to remain apart from the team seems to be, in part, tied to his dissatisfaction with the organization’s refusal to grant his trade request to the LA Clippers. Although he exercised his $35.6 million player option for this season, he promptly sought a trade.
Recent reports indicate that the Clippers have distanced themselves from James Harden trade talks, at least for the time being. They intend to evaluate the performance of their healthy stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in the coming weeks before revisiting the possibility of acquiring Harden later in the season.