Sixers star Harden 'just looking for happiness' with latest trade request, says Drummond

By Sports Desk October 21, 2023

The Philadelphia 76ers' wantaway guard James Harden is just "looking to find happiness" after requesting a trade and engaging in a bitter war of words with Sixers president Daryl Morey.

That is the view of Chicago Bulls center and former Sixer Andre Drummond, who hopes Harden joins a team where he feels wanted. 

Former MVP Harden requested a trade after exercising his player option for the 2023-24 season in June, the third time he has asked for a move since leaving the Houston Rockets in January 2021.

Having grown frustrated with Morey's handling of his contract situation during the offseason, Harden labelled the Sixers president a "liar" in August, declaring: "I will never be a part of an organization that he's a part of".

Harden reportedly expected to be offered a long-term deal after Philadelphia were beaten by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. 

He has since skipped practice on two occasions as the Sixers work towards their NBA season opener, which comes on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

While some have criticised Harden's conduct, Drummond, who joined the Brooklyn Nets as part of the trade which took Harden to Philadelphia last year, has sympathy for his position.

"I don't really get into the whole gossip aspect of the NBA," Drummond told Stats Perform. "I mean, with James, it's not his first time doing this.

"I think he's just going to try to find a way to make sure that he's happy and he goes into the best situation. I don't really have much else I can say on that.

"He's just looking to find happiness, so hopefully he gets to go where he wants to."

The Sixers' hopes for 2023-24 will be carried by reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, who recently announced his intention to represent the United States at next year's Olympic Games in France. 

Embiid averaged a career-high 33.1 points to lead the NBA last season, but the 29-year-old is yet to win a championship.

Drummond, who played alongside Embiid while with the Sixers in 2021-22, believes Philadelphia need to give the center a championship-winning team sooner rather than later.

Asked about Philadelphia's title hopes, Drummond said: "I think for Joel, they have to do it now. Now's the time.

"They've waited a long time, a lot of pieces have been added to their team that maybe aren't working out. 

"I hope he does it. I hope he doesn't win against us, but I hope for the best for him. I really want him to win. I've got to play alongside him for a year and he deserves it. He works really hard."

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