James Harden missed Philadelphia 76ers practice for a second consecutive day on Thursday for what the NBA club called personal reasons, leaving his status in doubt for next week’s season opener.
Harden, a 34-year-old guard who has won three NBA scoring titles and took his second NBA assists crown last season, has not played in the pre-season for the Sixers.
Harden has been at odds with 76ers team president Daryl Morey over wanting a long-term contract.
After opting into a one-year deal with the expectation of being traded, no deal for Harden materialized, leaving him calling Morey a liar and saying the ruptured relationship could never be mended.
His absence from workouts comes at a crucial time, with the club set to open the season next Thursday at Milwaukee.
“I think the organization has made it clear what’s going on,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse said of Harden’s personal reasons. “They are working on stuff as we say, day by day.”
Nurse was pleased at what he saw on the court in practice without Harden heading into Friday’s final pre-season contest against Atlanta.
“We had a really good practice,” he said. “Very energetic. The guys that were here, that’s what we’re focused on.”
Harden, the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player, was set to join reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid and talented teammates Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey in making the 76ers a title threat from the Eastern Conference.
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