“Millionaire Taking a Paycut for Billionaire?!”: After Publicly Lashing Out at Sixers for Trade Fiasco, James Harden Gets His Last Season’s Decision Questioned by All-Star

Published 08/17/2023, 9:47 AM EDT

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The James Harden trade saga seems to be a never-ending cycle of despair. Every major update gets crushed by uneventful activity that further adjourns a genuine conclusion. Similarly, after all the hype surrounding a potential blockbuster trade, the Philadelphia 76ers announced their decision to end trade discussions for the former MVP. The 10-time All-Star recently took a disgruntled jab at the franchise as well as their President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey after this announcement.

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However, this comes just a year after another shocking decision from the former MVP. This decision of his from last year may have had a huge role to play in his frustration this offseason. An All-Star recently commented about this very decision of Harden that landed him in a heap of trouble.

An All-Star questions James Harden about his decision from last season

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James Harden sent shockwaves across the NBA world as he berated the Sixers’ top executive, Daryl Morey publicly. His infamous statements in China made the biggest story of the offseason even more dramatic. However, his frustration traces back to last season, when he took a $15M pay-cut for the betterment of the Sixers roster. Now, a year after this decision, the franchise has not paid back the Beard, in fact, further escalated the situation.

All-Star Gilbert Arenas spoke out about this very incident on his podcast recently. Talking about Harden’s statements in China, the former Washington Wizards guard questioned his choice to take a pay-cut last season.

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“It’s the American way… if this was your job and you took a pay-cut with the idea of being reimbursed later on for the company and when that time came, they didn’t reimburse you, trust me, you will have the same mood,” said Arenas, strongly supporting Harden’s statements, lashing out against the Sixers franchise.

He added “Unless the owner has proven to be a man of his word, do not take pay-cuts anymore, fu** a pay-cut. The goal moving forward should be trying to be billionaires. If you’re taking a pay-cut, how the fu** can you be a billionaire because they’re not taking pay-cuts for you.

“We take the pay-cut, we do all the sacrificing, and then we retire, then we want to build this empire. No. Build your empire now while the money is coming in fast… you’re a millionaire taking a pay-cut for a billionaire,” Arenas opined.

Arenas shared his opinion on Harden’s decision to take a pay-cut and lashing out a year later. However, can Harden’s erratic moves this offseason be justified?

A timeline of the Beard’s stint with the Sixers after his pay-cut

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After a disappointing playoffs exit in the 2021-22 season, the Beard made a shocking decision. He took a $15M pay-cut for the betterment of the Sixers roster to improve their chances of championship contention. Unfortunately, this too ended up a failed attempt. The Sixers faced elimination for the second consecutive year in the second round, putting an end to Harden’s stint with the franchise.

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The 3-time scoring leader requested a trade out of the franchise to join a stronger championship contender. As both parties agreed to part ways and work together on a trade, it seemed as though Harden would find his destination soon. However, just as the buzz around a potential trade strengthened, the Sixers pulled the plug.

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WATCH THIS STORY: James Harden Risks Offending Close Friend Kevin Durant Amid Rampant Trade Rumors

Now, the disgruntled superstar lashed out on the franchise for their actions. He seemed to have felt betrayed by Daryl Morey and the Sixers after taking a staggering pay-cut. Despite a major sacrifice, Harden remains unsettled in Philadelphia, clueless about his future about his future with the franchise.

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Written by:

Sachit Kaundinya

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Sachit is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for several years and is deeply passionate about the sport and it’s strategic aspects. Combining his passion and desire to stay connected with basketball, Sachit pursued a writing career.
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Edited by:

Aayush Kapoor

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