As the embattled James Harden saga maintains its pressure on the Philadelphia 76ers throughout this offseason, Tyrese Maxey shrugged off any doubts about his commitment to the club.
Maxey took a reference to what happened to the 76ers with Ben Simmons and went on to air his unwavering respect for Harden’s notorious decision to head to the exits of the City of Brotherly Love.
“It’s crazy to say this, but it’s not our first rodeo, honestly. That’s funny to say, but that’s life,” Maxey said to his “Maxey on the Mic” podcast, via Paul Hudrick of SB Nation. “James is his own individual and he’s able to do whatever he pleases. I’m preparing right now to play with him or without him. … and I love James. If James decided he’s going to come back and play for us, there’s nobody in this organization that would be upset about that.”
The Harden drama remains to obtain new progress after the league fined the All-Star a hefty $100,000 earlier this week in connection to his public rant against Sixers president Daryl Morey while also noting that he won’t honor his service of play with a team that has ties with the executive.
Philadelphia took a pivot and pulled Harden off to the trade market after failing to have a trade traction with the L.A. Clippers – the desired destination of the star guard. As the 76ers reportedly vied to have Harden back at their side amid the roller coaster happenings with him, the move ultimately triggered Harden to lament against Morey in front of his Chinese fans during his Adidas tour.
Regardless if Harden will have a change of heart or not, the 22-year-old Maxey stands unmoved of the raucous distractions and will still continue performing for the 76ers.
Though the 76ers won’t be a legitimate title contender with the soon probable removal of Harden, they still have every ounce of confidence with reigning league MVP Joel Embiid still at their frontline. To add up, they have a new voice on the sidelines and a premiere head coach in Nick Nurse.
Though their playoff shortcomings are truly bizarre and the most disappointing so far in this era, the 76ers remain in their prime to be in the competitive conversation.
“People ask me, ‘If James doesn’t come back, do y’all see this season as a wash?’… I think with the position that the Sixers are in we can’t ever see a season as ‘a wash.’ We have talent. We have the reigning MVP on our team. We have to go out there and expect to win. Expect to still try to complete our goal,” Maxey said, who averaged over 20 points last 2022-23 season.
“It’ll definitely be even more difficult now that one of our best players has decided as of right now he doesn’t want to come back and play. That’s how life goes.”