Clippers Pausing Trade Talks With 76ers For James Harden
A recent report suggests that the Los Angeles Clippers are temporarily halting trade negotiations for James Harden in order to focus on the beginning of the regular season. Harden has been in a prolonged and bitter battle with the Philadelphia 76ers, refusing to play for the team despite still being under contract.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski delivered the update from the Clippers’ side of the negotiating table, noting that Los Angeles has been trying to acquire Harden for some time now and has not heard anything solid in return from Philadelphia. Wojnarowski also said that the Clippers could return to talks later in the season and are apparently one of the only teams that have shown interest in Harden.
“At least for the foreseeable future, the Clippers are stepping back from these trade talks about James Harden,” Wojnarowski said on an ESPN broadcast Wednesday. “They’re essentially pausing them. They have talked with Philadelphia for months about a trade. They’ve made their best offer for Harden and they are now going to start their season and see what this team looks like with a healthy Kawhi Leonard, a healthy Paul George. Now the Clippers may revisit this at some point, but they know they’re the only bidder for James Harden. They’re the only team that’s made a serious offer. They don’t want to bid against themselves, and again, while they may revisit this later in the season, I think the Sixers have to wonder have we already gotten the best offer we’re gonna get for James Harden?”
Harden, a 14-season veteran and the 2018 MVP, went to Philadelphia in 2022 through a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, where the guard was also reportedly unhappy because of mediocre results. In his time with Philadelphia thus far, the team has made the postseason twice but has not managed to defeat the Boston Celtics, losing to them both times in the conference finals and semifinals, respectively.
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In the offseason, Harden began to express profound discontent with Philadelphia’s management, calling President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey a “liar” and requesting to be traded. The team has not yet fulfilled that request, causing Harden to skip training camp. In response, Philadelphia cut him off from all team activities, effectively icing him out ahead of the start of the season. The team is playing without him for now, and for every game he misses, he may have to pay incremental fines that will gradually rise to $1 million per absence. Harden reportedly tried to rejoin the team for a road trip but was not allowed on the plane.
With Harden refusing to play for the 76ers and the team reportedly refusing to let him return, a trade seems like the only course of action to rectify this situation. But with the Clippers, who already have Leonard and George, pausing negotiations, it appears that Harden could remain isolated for the foreseeable future.
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