Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden skipped practice Thursday for the second straight day, with the team officially saying the disgruntled player is away because of a personal matter.
“I think the organization has made it clear what’s going on,” coach Nick Nurse said at the 76ers’ New Jersey complex. “They’re working on stuff, as we say, day by day. We had a really good practice today. Very energetic. The guys that were here, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Harden has yet to play in the preseason. He did attend training camp and continued to practice with the 76ers in the wake of his offseason trade demand. Harden said last week his fractured relationship with team president Daryl Morey could not be repaired — comparing it to a broken marriage — and said over the summer that he could not play for the 76ers.
Part of Harden’s complaint stems from his belief he should have earned a long-term contract with the Sixers after last season. It never came, thus the trade demand.
Harden, who was evasive last week about the status of his trade demand, said he could try to play in the Sixers’ preseason finale on Friday against Atlanta. Nurse, in his first season, said Harden playing in the finale now seems “unlikely.”
“It’s been ongoing for a long time now,” Nurse said. “I’ve got a job to do with the guys that are here and we just go to work. If that changes, we’ll adjust. That’s what we do.”
Harden has been one of the league’s top players for the past decade, winning three scoring titles and the 2018 league MVP award. He led the league in assists last season.
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