Listen, I’m not trying to talk it into existence (although I’ve never been one to believe that you can make something happen by just mentioning it). But if Zion Williamson (or Brandon Ingram, for that matter) ever requested a trade, we better not handle it the way that James Harden is claiming that Daryl Morey is taking care of it.
Or, should we say, how Harden is claiming that Morey is not taking care of it. Just a week after Harden publicly called Morey a “liar” and said he “will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” we now have some new intel.
According to Shams Charania, the NBA has launched an investigation on the circumstances surrounding Harden’s comments and found that Morey promised to trade Harden swiftly if he opted into his player option for 2023-24. However, after apparently promising that, the Philadelphia 76ers now intend to keep him.
Again, I don’t want either Williamson/Ingram to request a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. No team ever wants their star players to not want to be there. But if it did happen, we can’t handle it the way it seems Morey and company are doing it with Harden.
If these allegations are true, even if Morey ‘wins’ this stalemate (either by getting Harden to play next year or trading him for maximum value when he sees fit), the long-term damage done to his reputation will far outweigh the victory.
What do you think Harden will say to a colleague who asks him about Morey and the 76ers organization? Yeah dude, that place and that guy are awesome people to work for! No! Of course not. He’s going to tell them to look elsewhere for employment. He’s going to do everything he can to make them a non-destination for marquee players.
At least the 76ers are a somewhat big market with some memorable franchise history. A small-market team with little past success like the Pelicans can ill-afford to build up a reputation for mishandling stars.
I’m not saying that we should just trade a disgruntled star for pennies on the dollar. I’m just saying that we can’t go around being dishonest with them. We still need to make deals in the best interest of the organization. But if the day comes that one of our best players wants out (I pray it never does), we better make sure we handle it the opposite of how Morey and the 76ers are doing so right now.