Harden says Sixers decision to part ways with Morey "surprised the hell out of me."

Harden says Sixers parting with Morey "surprised the hell out of me" first appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia. James Harden still spoke about leaving the Sixers.

Harden discusses his Sixers leaving and Clippers transition with The Athletic's Sam Amick. Harden claims Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey promised him a max contract.

“Me and Daryl had a really good relationship,” Harden told The Athletic. In the past, a week or two after losing in the playoffs, we focused on improving the team. They discussed ‘How do we get better?’ And that's been going on for 10+ years?

All contact stopped this year. Now it's like, ‘OK, I realize what's going on.’ I'm smart. But then I think, ‘What’s my next step, and what do I want to do?’ Ultimately, this is a business. As he must do for his company, I must do for myself and my family. That's it."

Amick inquired when Morey assured Harden he'd get the most. Harden added, “Well, the time that's important was before the playoffs started (last season). “He talked to my rep.”

Sixers insiders have always denied promising Harden. Harden signed a two-year, $33 million contract in the summer of 2022 with a $35.6 million player option for 2023-24.

That contract allowed the Sixers to sign PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. The NBA punished the Sixers one second-round selection each for premature contact with House and Tucker during its 2022 free agency investigation. The Sixers were not punished for a potential Harden deal.

Harden and the Sixers had drama this summer. His $100,000 penalties for public trade requests came after the 10-time All-Star guard dubbed Morey a “liar”. Harden and Tucker were traded to the Clippers while the Sixers were 2-1.