The fine was for Harden’s “public comments on August 14 and 17 indicating that he would not perform the services called for under his player contract unless traded to another team,” the league said in a news release.
“The league’s investigation, which included interviewing Harden, confirmed that these comments referenced Harden’s belief that the 76ers would not accommodate his request to be traded,” the release said.
CNN affiliate KHOU asked Harden last week if he thinks his relationship with the team is beyond repair. “I think so,” Harden told the station.
“I’ve been patient all summer,” the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player added. “For me, it’s just focus on what I can control and getting ready for this season.”
Before his comments to KHOU, Harden had called 76ers President Daryl Morey a “liar” during an event in China and said he “will never be a part of an organization that (Morey) is a part of.”
The players’ union will file a grievance and the matter will be heard by an arbitrator, it said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We respectfully disagree with the league’s decision to discipline James Harden for recent comments he made, which we believe do not violate the rule against public trade demands,” officials with the National Basketball Players Association said in the post.
Playoff exit disappointment
Harden reportedly made it clear to the 76ers that he wants to be traded this offseason following another disappointing playoff exit last season.
According to multiple media reports, including from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers have spent the majority of the offseason looking to facilitate the 33-year-old’s wishes.
Harden has previously pushed to be moved on from the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets.
In 2021, he was traded to the Nets after saying the Rockets were “just not good enough” following an underwhelming playoff exit.
Just over a year later, he was traded to the 76ers from the Nets after rumors of his desire to leave Brooklyn surfaced.
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed to this report.