I guess maybe we'll learn the chain of events more specifically but it certainly seems mutual. Obviously the Sixers were not going to offer the extension he wanted but he could have still opted out followed by a sign-and-trade no?
The problem with the original trade is that we gave up all that extra stuff because Simmons was so poisoned.
To me Harden was not a disappointment and in fact exceeded expectations - he was hurt and aging when they got him and he was already known for not playing defense and not doing well in the post-season, and the trade was less about acquiring a superstar as it was acquiring more than you thought you could ever get for Ben at that point, even with the draft pick tariff.
But he embraced a new role this past year and the offense was great in the regular season. It just might have been nice to find out if having the same core for even just a second full season could actually be better. It's also possible it wouldn't have been.
And it also remains possible that they are just never going to find the right guy to unlock Joel completely. There always seems to be something missing in terms of fit, spacing, positions, pace of play (one or the other, or more).
Can they really move both Harden and Harris now or will they see what Tobias can do and move him at the deadline if it's not working?