76ers star center Joel Embiid is in disagreement with his former running mate James Harden, who said that he was “on a leash” while in Philadelphia.
“I don’t think so,” Embiid said in response to Harden’s comments. “I think he did a lot of great things for us.
“But in my opinion, we gave him the ball every single possession because he’s really good. He’s an amazing player. Obviously, being that great of a passer, I think we gave him the ball … we’d give him the ball every single possession to just go out and, you know, do his thing. And from there, he had to make decisions as far as getting guys open or looking out for himself.”
Harden forced his way out of Philadelphia in an ugly offseason feud that included him calling general manager Daryl Morey “a liar” in what became a fractured relationship.
The Los Angeles Clippers acquired James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Filip Petrusev in exchange for Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, and Kenyon Martin Jr. — as well as draft picks earlier this week.
Harden will look to make his debut soon as he joins former teammate Russell Westbrook as well as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Embiid and Harden didn’t appear to have many issues prior to the end of last season, where they lost in seven games to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
But things hit a boiling point when Harden didn’t receive a max contract extension from Philadelphia and there was little trade interest around the league with the 76ers clearly lacking leverage due to Harden’s public complaints.
“Philly is just changing my role knowing I can give more, knowing I can do more, but if you want me to be honest, it’s like being on a leash… I never really had that opportunity [to score and facilitate freely],” Harden said at his Clippers introduction.
With Harden off the team, Tyrese Maxey has stepped up in a big way, taking over as the clear favorite to win the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award and is averaging 27.2 points per game.
Embiid put up an impressive 28 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in 35 minutes in the 76ers’ 114-99 victory over the Raptors on Thursday.
This story originally appeared on NYPost