Editor’s note: Pagan has chosen to completely ignore the ban on all non-arena Sixers stories. We’re determining punitive strategy at this moment. 

Andre Iguodala was on Gilbert Arenas’ show, giving insight into James Harden’s leverage against Daryl Morey and the Sixers:

Quote transcribed by Ky Carlin at Liberty Ballers:

“When you go into a contract negotiation, know what your value (is) and how you can leverage yourself. Know what opportunities you have on the other side, like to your safety net. What is James’ safety net? Daryl Morey has a history with China, where he can say something, and the backlash from what he says, it may not be any because there’s a history there with Morey and China. So it was a great move out of leverage by James, one, because it’s gonna be hard to discipline James, because what did he do wrong? Right? And James will sell some shoes. That’s ultimately why he’s over there. We’re so quick to say, always say ‘disgruntled player’ because Kyrie (Irving), he had James’ back, because the headline from Woj (Adrian Wojnarowski) was ‘disgruntled player.’ James Harden is like, why is he disgruntled? Why isn’t the front office ever disgruntled? They always put players in a certain light and what you’re hearing a lot now is, players have too much power because we’re getting smarter and smarter. Because we know how to move and we know how to say certain things, and we know how to use our leverage, because when we make mistakes, it’s used against us, correct? When they make mistakes, we’ve never put ourselves in the position to use their mistakes that gets them as well and I just think he just had the perfect opportunity to repeat himself.”

Am I dumb or is that quote just a giant word salad from Iggy? Iggy’s not dumb. He’s a successful venture capitalist, but he somehow talks about safety nets, reverts to leverage, comes back to how the NBA can’t discipline Harden, and then references Harden being disgruntled but not the front office. It’s all over the place for a 90 second clip. One thing here is that I’m pretty sure the Sixers front office is disgruntled. They’re being embarrassed on an international stage. They just had their second point guard in three years tell them he’s not going to show up for training camp. They can’t get past the second round and they’re still dealing with shitty deals and bad hires handed out by the old regime. These are people’s jobs on the line at the end of the day.

Step back for a second and think about Harden’s apparent leverage in this whole situation and this “safety net” Iggy is talking about. The safest assumption we can make is that Morey and him had a handshake wink-wink deal that he’d be paid the max after taking a pay cut to sign his two friends. If that is true why were there leaks he was going back to Houston on Christmas and multiple times after that? If you were promised a max deal then why would your team leak your interest in Houston? That doesn’t make any sense. Unless that was Harden’s safety net and Ime Udoka said “nuh uh.” So then he tests the market leading up to free agency and saw that the interest isn’t there either. I don’t think Harden has a safety net or any leverage and he knows that. He apparently has these grandiose plans on making this so uncomfortable that it’ll force the Sixers to trade him. Buddy, Daryl just did this with Ben Simmons and didn’t flinch. Barring pictures compromising the GM at a donkey show down in Tijuana I don’t know what he expects. You’re on the wrong side of 30 and your skills have deteriorated.

Iggy is rich weighing in on leverage when he was traded to the Grizzlies in 2019 and refused to play, while getting paid his full $16 million, until he was dealt to the Miami Heat. That’s not leverage that’s just bad business. That’s what turns fans away from the sport. Sure do these guys ever win a CBA? Of course not. But it’s hard to feel for the millionaire athlete when people are making pennies compared to that at a desk job.