While Harden was not present for Philadelphia’s first practice here at Moby Arena on the campus of Colorado State University Tuesday morning, he’s expected to arrive in Colorado as soon as later Tuesday to join the franchise for training camp, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
It is not immediately clear how soon — or whether — Harden will participate in practices, sources told Wojnarowski.
“I do know that he wasn’t here today,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse said following Tuesday’s practice. “If he’s here tomorrow, like we’ve said on everything, we will get ready to make some adjustments on everything.
“We’ll see what happens.”
Harden also didn’t attend media day Monday in Camden, N.J., where his teammates, Nurse and 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey all expressed hope and optimism that, at some point, this situation could be resolved.
To that end, Harden on Friday was paid the 25% of his contract he was scheduled to receive by Sunday, sources said, after already having received the 25% payment he was scheduled to receive July 1.
And, while they wait for him to arrive, the 76ers will continue to operate on two timelines: one where Harden is incorporated back into the fold and one where he is not.
Nurse referenced having a “Plan A” and “Plan B” Monday in terms of how he’s approaching this situation. After conducting his first practice as Philadelphia’s head coach he said his experience taking over the Toronto Raptors at the start of the 2018-19 season — when he had to integrate Kawhi Leonard into an established team, a season that ended with Toronto winning a title — has served him well in adjusting to what’s going on right now with the 76ers.
“I don’t think it’s been much of a distraction at all so far,” Nurse said. “I mean, first of all, thankfully it’s my second chance at starting with a new team. There’s a lot of things [to do] to get the staff up to speed, getting everybody around the building kind of beating to the same drum. There’s so much work to do in that.
“I’d just say that every now and then there’s conversations about it that probably take up a few minutes a day. That’s it so far. So it hasn’t been too bad. And again, I think the players are doing a great job of focusing on what we’re doing and they’re trying to learn some of the new thoughts and philosophies that we’re trying to implement and they’re trying to do ’em. So that’s all we can do.”
Unlike the Ben Simmons situation two years ago, however, there is no animus between Harden and his teammates, who continue to express optimism he’ll rejoin them on the court.
“That’d be great,” Tyrese Maxey said of the possibility of Harden rejoining the 76ers in the near future. “As a brotherhood, we would love to see him [back with us, but] right now we have to focus on practice today.”
The 76ers are scheduled to practice here until Friday, before flying to Boston to open the preseason Sunday night at TD Garden against the Celtics (6 p.m., ESPN).
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