$100k fine for James Harden, Mac McClung signs with Orlando

The NBA has fined disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden $100,000 over his recent comments calling team president Daryl Morey a “liar.” The disparaging remarks stemmed from Morey’s apparent promise to trade Harden as soon as he opted into his $35.6M Player Option. After trade talks with the Los Angeles Clippers stalled, the Sixers took Harden off the trade market, leading him to make those comments and reach an impasse with the organization.

Details of the Fine

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the league’s $100,000 fine is consistent with the new rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, whereas previous instances of trade requests made public (e.g. Anthony Davis and Dewayne Dedmon) only landed $50,000 fines.

Harden’s remark that he would never play for Morey again played a larger role in the fine, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. A section of the CBA (as quoted by The Athletic) further explains the matter:

“Any player (or, for clarity, any player representative or person acting with authority on behalf of a player) who publicly expresses a desire to be traded to another Team shall be subject to a fine and/or a suspension. The maximum fine that may be imposed by the NBA on a player pursuant to the foregoing shall be $150,000.”

The Pressure is On

If the pressure wasn’t on Harden before, it should be now. The ten-time All-Star is still holding out hope of escaping an unfortunate situation—one that he got himself into after requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. The drama surrounding Harden has led to further questions around the future of teammate and reigning MVP Joel Embiid, who has recently received interest from Eastern Conference rivals.

Meanwhile, team owner Josh Harris told insider Shams Charania that he is working hard to keep Harden in Philadelphia.

“I respect James. I want to, obviously, accommodate what he wants. At the same time, I have to think about a championship-contending team, what we can get back. I’d love to convince him to stay. I understand that that’s not what he wants to do right now.”

Other Sixers News: Mac McClung to Orlando

Former Sixer and 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Mac McClung has signed a partially-guaranteed deal with the Orlando Magic, according to Charania.

The high-flying McClung—who was originally known for athletic high-school highlights—has been an NBA journeyman. He’s averaged 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game over the last two seasons.

McClung began with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League squad in 2021. Afterwards, he played with their G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, where his standout play earned him the 2021-22 G League MVP. Eventually, McClung joined the Chicago Bulls that December on a ten-day contract. After a second ten-day and a relegation to their G League squad, McClung found his way back to California—first with the Lakers then the Golden State Warriors—before ending up with the Sixers. McClung only played two games for Philadelphia. He averaged 12.5 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists on 45/36/60 shooting splits.

McClung’s impressive showcase during All-Star Weekend put him in the history books as well, as he became the second undrafted player (next to Derrick Jones Jr.) to win the Slam Dunk Contest.

McClung will be fighting for the final two-way spot on the Magic roster. Orlando now has 18 of their 21 camp invites filled. The team’s other two-way signees are Kevon Harris and Admiral Schofield, both of whom will be splitting time with the recently-rebranded Osceola Magic.

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