All the latest on the (latest) James Harden saga
This was indeed NBA Schedule Release Week, but the league's loudest headlines have all been Harden-related since he absolutely blasted his longtime No. 1 fan Daryl Morey in China on Monday
A couple quick announcements before we get to the around-the-league portion of the column:
1. We discussed the new In-Season Tournament at length about a month ago to detail why I am so unenthused about it — primarily because it has no feel of an actual tournament until the semifinals in Las Vegas. I think you understood where I stood before this week’s 2023-24 schedule release and Tuesday’s carve-out that exclusively highlighted the road to winning what they’re calling the NBA Cup.
Hopefully I am proven wrong and the league’s introduction of a second trophy has a positive effect on the seven-month, 82-game grind in terms of generating interest, but the instinct increasingly persists here to refer to it as the NBA's In-Season (Not A) Tournament.
2. The stylebook for this Substack is purely conceptual and, yes, includes numerous entries that are indeed made up according to publisher whim. Yet we do reserve the right — once we make it to the semifinals in Vegas and a Dec. 9 championship game that, unlike the first 66 games designated for tournament purposes, is not just a regular-season game that will be counted twice — to call it the NBA's In-Season (Finally A) Tournament.
Read on for the notes that, as you would imagine, are James Harden-heavy after Harden — in the midst of his third trade demand in a decade not yet four years old — so starkly described 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey as a "liar" in a promotional appearance Monday for Adidas in China in the enclosed video. Twice: