76ers Must Be Patient In Trading James Harden
The Philadelphia 76ers will let James Harden seek a trade, as he exercised his $35.6 million option for the upcoming season. The ten-time All-Star will look to be moved via trade instead of entering free agency, as the Sixers started making calls on Harden trades last week since he will be accepting the option.
The 33-year-old guard was traded to Philadelphia back in 2022 from the Brooklyn Nets, as he’s had longer stints with the Houston Rockets (nine seasons) and Oklahoma City Thunder (three seasons).
The former 2018 NBA MVP and 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is known for being one of the most efficient scorers and consistent floppers on the court, leading to more fouls and more free throws.
Harden has not been what he once was, as injuries have derailed some of his recent seasons due to his style of play and age. Even so, statistically, he helped forward Joel Embiid win an MVP with his passing, a league-high 10.7 average assists per game during the regular season.
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The Sixers have the leverage it seems, as they can wait it out throughout the summer till they like the compensation for Harden. But he talked with the president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and that led to talks of finding a way to trade him to a new team, according to sources telling ESPN.
The teams that seem to be the most likely to attain an established but expensive player like Harden would be the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks or Miami Heat, among a few other teams.
However, during a recent episode of The Lowe Post, ESPN analyst and insider Zach Lowe said the Clippers have been reluctant to offer guards, Terance Mann and Norman Powell, along with picks in any potential Harden trade.
Apparently, the private bidding war for him has been on the quiet end, as teams might be reluctant to go all in on a player at his age and injury history on his contract, as he is on the second year of a two-year deal. Lowe isn’t sure if there has been significant dialogue from teams to attain the guard.
But there are conflicting reports on if Harden would stick around for one more season or if his relationship with Morey is too far gone, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that there are teams that could be interested but the Sixers do want him back if Harden feels the same way.
Daryl Morey hopes to convince James Harden to stay with the Sixers next season, per @wojespn:
– Sixers would love to keep Harden next season. Morey believes his relationship with Harden could help change his current thoughts on returning.
– Still talking to teams about a… pic.twitter.com/YH5HZm5mTO
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) July 4, 2023
Philadelphia last season was third in the Eastern Conference, going 54-28 but losing to the Boston Celtics in the Semi-Finals. They also have lost more than gained, as the 76ers have only signed guard Patrick Beverly and center Mo Bamba.
As of now, Lowe is hearing teams aren’t planning on giving up what Philadelphia wants out of a Harden trade deal, as he could be nothing more than a one-year rental at $35.6 million a year. It could just be a repeat of this season for the next team Harden joins.
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