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Report: James Harden Barred From Sixers Plane By Team Security

James Harden warms up at a Sixers practice
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

James Harden hoped to make the Sixers "uncomfortable," as Woj put it, in order to wrangle a trade out of Philly. The Sixers might have decided to reciprocate that feeling. On Wednesday, Harden showed up to the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, N.J., apparently surprising the team after a 10-day "excused absence" for a personal matter, according to the latest report from Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes. Harden joined in for parts of that practice session, and was told by Sixers officials that he should stick in Philly to "continue the ramp-up process" instead of joining the team for its road trip to Milwaukee and Toronto. Sixers coach Nick Nurse told reporters that Harden was "fine" with the decision.

Undeterred, Harden still showed up at the airport later on Wednesday to board the team flight. At that point he was "stopped by a security official who notified him that he was not permitted to accompany the team," according to Haynes. General manager Elton Brand and Nurse reportedly told Harden to keep working out at the Sixers' facility, along with the two-way players, who wouldn't be making the trip, either. In Haynes's wonderful formulation, it "was expounded that the workout program includes monitoring his measurables and speed with their tracking system." Harden was "frustrated" by the airport rejection; his camp believes that the team's "priority is to eliminate a perceived potential distraction," but considering that Harden more or less set out a public goal to become a real actual distraction, it's hard to grasp his frustration. Tragically, Haynes's report includes no audiovisuals from the airport scene.

Harden's preferred destination is the Clippers, but nobody's reported any activity on the trade front. Let's recap Harden's maneuvers, after the team stiffed him on the juicy contract extension he was reportedly seeking: call team president Daryl Morey "a liar" and vow never to play for him again; conduct an interview on a high school football field stating that it's too late to repair the relationship with the team; skip out on media day in Philly; show up on the second day of training camp in Colorado and continue to practice with the team; leave the team for a 10-day stint; show up again to practice on Wednesday only to be barred by security from attending the first two games of the Sixers' season. If you can't discern the subtle Machiavellian tactics underpinning these feints and jabs, you'll never amount to much in this world.

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