Tim Bontemps, ESPNOct 31, 2023, 03:08 PM ET
CAMDEN, N.J.– After a number of drama-filled months, the James Harden legend lastly ended for the Philadelphia 76ers in the early hours of Tuesday early morning, when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the three-time NBA scoring champ would get his dream of being traded to the LA Clippers
How did 76ers coach Nick Nurse respond to the news? When he was contacted us to be outlined the offer, he was quick asleep.
“I did [get a call],” Nurse stated with a smile after Tuesday’s practice, “and I slept through it. I did get up a couple hours later on and came into the workplace.”
When he did, Nurse got up to a much various group– one that lacked not only Harden however likewise forward P.J. Tuckerwho had actually begun the very first 3 video games, together with reserve forward Filip Petrusev
The offer still has to be formally consummated– something that might occur as quickly as Tuesday afternoon– the overarching view around the Philadelphia location was a sigh of relief that the standoff in between Harden and the Sixers had actually ended.
For Nurse and the 76ers, the claim was that the on-again, off-again nature of Harden’s participation over the previous a number of weeks was just a small diversion to their everyday work. Tyrese Maxey formally acquires Harden’s function as the point player of the lineup progressing after an excellent very first 3 video games of the season.
“I believe our group has actually been prepared,” Maxey stated. “I believe we’ve done a great task of keeping the main point the main point, and I believe that’s what’s gotten all of us to a strong start. We have some actually heros that are focused, that are identified to head out there and play and reveal what we can do, and [a] coach that’s keeping our mind in the best location.”
Still, a cloud of unpredictability has actually been raised from the 76ers company– one that has actually hung over the franchise considering that Harden chose into his $35.6 million gamer alternative for this season in June and asked for a trade to the Clippers.
Ever since, Harden has actually called 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey a phony at a marketing occasion in China, missed out on media day and the opening day of training school practice at Colorado State University, and after that left the group for 10 days in the middle of the preseason for an individual scenario.
The franchise now can openly and independently turn the page, concentrating on a future that focuses on Joel Embiidthe league’s ruling MVP, and Maxey, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after balancing 30.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.3 helps while shooting 50% from the field and 14-for-25 from 3.
“I’m pleased due to the fact that it suggests that we are winning,” Maxey stated of getting the award. “If we’re not winning, those individual awards, you do not get acknowledged due to the fact that those are for groups and gamers that are on winning groups. I’m simply pleased that our guys are going out there and contending.
“When we step in between those lines, nevertheless many individuals we got on our group, we’re prepared to go to war with the other group and we have a coach and a company that think in us. It’s been excellent.”
The Sixers definitely think in Maxey. They decreased to provide him a novice agreement extension previously this month not due to the fact that they do not believe his long-lasting capability however since they are keeping their alternatives open free of charge firm next summer season, when they might have north of $50 million in income cap area. That number increased Tuesday with the group carrying on from Tucker’s $11.5 million gamer alternative for next season.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Embiid is the only gamer on an ensured agreement for next season for the 76ers, providing them optimal versatility to improve the lineup around their super star. That might follow summertime in the type of totally free representative finalizings, or in between now and February’s trade due date by means of offers, as the group can send 3 future first-round choices in the wake of the Harden swap.
Nurse, however, stated his focus is on what’s in front of him now, which is getting ready for Thursday’s video game versus his previous group, the Toronto RaptorsPhiladelphia will be attempting to beat Toronto for the 2nd time in less than a week.
“I keep responding to the majority of these the very same method,” Nurse stated when inquired about his enjoyment about what Philadelphia can do in the future. “I got to prepare for Thursday, and I got to coach the guys we got. I actually like where we are right now. I indicate, there’s a lot I’m learning more about this group. I believe there’s a lot enhancement we need to make in a great deal of methods, and I’ll let Daryl and [76ers general manager Elton Brand] and the young boys fret about all that things, and I’ll coach the guys here daily.”
That will consist of Maxey, whom Nurse applauded for his enhancement as a flooring basic and supplier even from video game to video game over the very first a number of days of the season, in addition to given that completion of 2022-23.
And while Harden is now in the rearview mirror for the 76ers as he heads back to his home town of Los Angeles, Maxey stated he thanked him for what Harden taught the young guard as they played together over the previous 18 months.
“I texted him and I informed him I like him, informed him I value him,” Maxey stated. “One thing that he truly set up in me is self-confidence. I’ve constantly been a positive individual, however he made me be much more positive than I currently was, and all I can do is value him for that.
“He took me under his wing, taught me a great deal of things as far as simply being an expert in this league and how things go. I value him and I like him. Very same thing with Tuck. Love those guys.”