Wherever James Harden goes, drama follows and there was plenty of it on Wednesday when he tried to board the 76ers plane.
Harden returned to be with the squad after ten days away and coaching staff told him he needed to stay at the training facility to ramp things up, rather than head to Milwaukee with everyone else.
The ten-time All-Star practiced with the team and interpreted his staying back as a suggestion rather than a demand, so he intended to travel with the team that afternoon, according to B/R’s Chris Haynes.
“After practice, Harden arrived at the fixed-base operator airport to board the team flight, but he was stopped by a security official who notified him that he was not permitted to accompany the team, sources say,” Haynes wrote.
“General manager Elton Brand and head coach Nick Nurse spoke to Harden to explain that the organization prefers he accepts and follows their workout plan, which includes staying at the practice facility while the team is away, sources say.”
The shooting guard was reportedly frustrated, but “departed the airport without further incident”.
The NBA, which tightened its rules about resting non-injured players over the summer, is now investigating the reasons behind Harden’s absence at the 76ers game against the Bucks on Thursday.
“We’re looking into the facts around James Harden’s availability tonight to determine whether an approved reason exists for his lack of participation,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.
Bass made the statement before the 76ers’ 118-117 loss in Milwaukee.
The NBA’s player participation policy allows teams and players an out for injury, personal reasons and “rare and unusual circumstances.”
A franchise could be fined $100,000 for a first offense, with increasing penalties after that.
As always with James Harden, they’ll most certainly be more drama to come, so stay tuned for more updates.