In the absence of a star player being offered by the Clippers, ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculates that the 76ers could potentially agree to a different trade framework for James Harden, the Philadelphia 76ers guard who has expressed a strong desire to join the Los Angeles Clippers next season.
Harden secured his contract option for the 2023-2024 season before formally requesting a trade.
Although the Sixers made efforts to accommodate Harden’s preference by engaging in talks with the Clippers, the negotiations hit a hurdle due to the Clippers’ front office failing to present an attractive trade proposal.
As mid-September arrives and training camp looms, James Harden continues to be a part of the Philadelphia 76ers.
However, is there a chance the Clippers could alter this situation? While the likelihood is minimal, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has outlined a straightforward proposal that might increase the chances of a James Harden trade becoming a reality.
“If the Clippers were to put both first-round picks in, even without [Terance Mann], I think there’s a two-team deal that exists that the Sixers would do,” Lowe explained. “I don’t think the two teams have been anywhere close to any of that kind of deal.”
Back in 2021, during Ben Simmons’ well-known holdout, Daryl Morey, the President of Basketball Operations for the Sixers, stated his desire to acquire a star player in exchange for James Harden. The patience in pursuing this goal has now proven to be worthwhile.
Daryl Morey is expected to adopt a comparable strategy in this situation, but certain favorable circumstances must materialize before the Sixers shift their focus from pursuing another star player to giving priority to a collection of draft picks.
“The only play I see for the Sixers here is bring [James Harden] to camp, hope he plays pretty well, and the Clippers and some other teams with high expectations sputter over their first 20 games and get desperate,” Lowe concluded.
The Philadelphia 76ers are eager to have James Harden attend their training camp, although an initial absence is anticipated.
The encouraging aspect is that in the past, Harden has demonstrated a willingness to participate even when he was discontented and seeking a trade.
However, it’s worth noting that his willingness to play before a trade didn’t extend beyond eight games during his tenure with the Houston Rockets in 2020.
The ideal scenario for the Sixers would be to acquire a star player of equivalent value for Harden to maintain their championship aspirations.
Nevertheless, if Plan A doesn’t pan out, obtaining substantial draft assets, which provide flexibility, is a reasonable alternative to consider.
At this point, the primary focus for the Sixers is on reuniting Harden with the team, while the resolution of other aspects will unfold in due course.