Back in the United States, James Harden did not strike a dramatically different tone Thursday night.
After calling Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey a “liar” a few days prior during his tour of China, Harden spoke in Houston to KHOU 11’s Jason Bristol.
“I’ve been patient all summer,” Harden told KHOU 11. “For me, it’s just focusing on what I can control, and that’s working out, staying in shape and getting ready for a good season.”
Harden exercised his $35.6 million player option on June 29 and the Sixers agreed to explore trades involving the 10-time All-Star guard. The Sixers had discussions with the Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination, but recently ended trade talks.
Bristol asked Harden whether it was too late to repair his relationship with the Sixers.
“I think so,” he said.
Harden played an extremely productive 621 games for the Rockets, averaging a franchise-best 29.6 points. He still has close ties to Houston and is back in the city for his JH-Town charity weekend.
Harden was practicing Thursday for an upcoming celebrity softball game. According to his Impact 13 Foundation, the organization over the weekend will donate backpacks to students, award academic scholarships and provide meals to food-insecure families.
“As many people as I can reach and lift them up, then I feel like I’m doing my job,” Harden said.
And as far as his work is concerned with the Sixers, Harden’s feelings seem to be unchanged.