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Rumors Surrounding 76ers Round Up: Handshake by Josh Harris, Morey’s Rebuilding Considerations, Harden and Embiid Updates

Harden and Morey /@76ers

The recent updates about the Philadelphia 76ers are centered around James Harden, sparking a lot of discussions.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ offseason sagas always have unexpected twists. James Harden has been a focal point of NBA rumors for about three years, starting from his unhappy exits from Houston and Brooklyn.

He might be preparing for another discontented departure, adding to his reputation as a legendary player who tends to leave his teams in a sour way. While it’s not entirely accurate to label him this manner, it’s a common perception, and the current situation won’t improve that image.

Now, let’s explore recent updates surrounding the Sixers. To start, Josh Harris, the Sixers’ Managing Partner, expressed on Monday his ongoing desire to persuade Harden to join the team this season. On the same day, Harris also made an appearance during the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast, where he discussed heading the consortium that successfully acquired the Washington Commanders from Daniel Snyder.

The humorous and slightly awkward handshake moment involving Aikman and the Sixers owner sparked laughter both on X , formerly Twitter and during the broadcast :

Perhaps it was symbolic that Harris chose an unexpected handshake, considering the ongoing chatter about potential handshake deals for the Sixers, given the recent controversy ignited by Harden.

Last week, Harden publicly referred to Daryl Morey as a “liar” during an event in China, prompting the NBA to reopen an investigation into the Sixers to check for any improper negotiations with the 10-time All-Star.

The league is also fining Harden $100,000 for his choice of words. Shortly after news of the fine emerged, Harden, who is set to earn $36.5 million this season, posted a video expressing his disappointment with Adam Silver’s penalty :

No need to worry for those who recall the Timberwolves losing five first-round picks due to an unlawful handshake deal, as it appears that Harden isn’t currently accusing the Sixers of any wrongdoing in that regard.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne this past weekend:

Nevertheless, Harden has privately indicated that his public comments calling Morey a “liar” on Monday morning had only been a response to Morey ending trade discussions with an expectation that Harden would start the season with the Sixers, sources said.”

I understand your skepticism about Harden’s explanation, but it’s interesting nonetheless. It’s hard to believe he’d be extremely upset if he requested a trade to a specific team, found out the Clippers didn’t offer much in return, and then didn’t get the trade within a few weeks. It’s a bit of an unreasonable stance, especially considering he chose to opt into his contract, which hasn’t garnered much public sympathy for him.

Perhaps he still feels the team misled him in some subtle way, yet he might not be ready to openly accuse them of major wrongdoing. It’s all speculative though, just spitballing with a tinfoil hat on. This is the current situation, and NBA Insider Marc Stein shared some informed insights through his recent Substack newsletter about the reports and rumors.

Per Stein

“If the Sixers ultimately trade Harden for a draft pick-heavy package, my belief is that they would be doing so with the intent to flip those picks in a subsequent deal for a top-level player — not because they suddenly covet draft picks.

He said draft pick “HEAVY!!?” So you’re saying there’s a chance!?”

Stein continues:

In other words: I don’t believe Morey secretly wants to pursue a “rebuilding” course, as has been suggested in recent days, because he never has before. It would be a complete detour from his careerlong philosophy to initiate a teardown that has the Sixers starting over.

Marc Stein’s insights are valuable in clarifying the confusion that arose from Vince Goodwill’s Yahoo Sports report over the weekend. Goodwill’s report appeared to present a biased viewpoint on the matter, and even individuals critical of Morey locally might find his perspective questionable.

Per Goodwill:

Many around the NBA believe Joel Embiid will ask out sooner rather than later — and that a full rebuild is what Morey is covertly hoping for….

Harden will continue to exert pressure on Morey, who seems unaware of how this kind of disruption could impact the current players on the roster if Harden joins the training camp in October.

Harden shouldered the Houston Rockets for almost ten years, while Morey has been a prominent figure for a specific type of executive. Yet, Morey’s weakness has always been understanding interpersonal relationships.

Goodwill’s perspective comes across as entertaining and somewhat biased in favor of Harden’s agenda, but fortunately, Stein provided reliable information to help dispel any confusion.

Stein continued:

The Sixers’ primary team-building objectives, as I understand them, are A) trying to find another star to fortify their Joel Embiid/Tyrese Maxey core and B) preserving next summer’s pathway to significant salary cap space with whatever they do.

If the Sixers were offered just one first-round pick and some expiring contracts from the Lakers, it’s doubtful they’d agree to the trade. However, if the package included guard Terance Mann, a first-round pick, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, and a couple of second-rounders, they might consider it.

But there’s uncertainty about whether they could then use those assets to make a move for someone like Zach LaVine in Chicago. The question remains whether they could enhance the deal by involving Terance Mann.

As for Joel Embiid, Goodwill’s report suggests that many believe he might seek a departure from Philly sooner rather than later due to the ongoing situation.

Per Stein:

“I do believe that the Knicks and Heat are among the teams monitoring the situation because they would wish to be at the front of the line if Embiid did ask out….

It bears repeating that the Sixers aren’t trading Embiid unless Embiid forces them into it. Nothing close to that has happened — yet.

Stein’s insights are intriguing. They don’t explicitly state that Embiid won’t request a trade by the upcoming deadline or during the season, but they highlight the team’s desire to secure a trade that maintains or improves their performance this year while also preserving cap space for the next summer.

This approach might be aimed at keeping Embiid positive and engaged in the process. Notably, DeMar DeRozan’s expiring contract aligns with the salary considerations for a potential deal, just a thought.

Absolutely, it’s undeniable that there’s a constant buzz of activity in this context. Would you agree? Sure thing! Shall we virtually shake on it?

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