It’s looking more and more like James Harden will be a member of the Philadelphia 76ers when they open up the regular season against the Milwaukee Bucks next Thursday.
While the former NBA MVP has made it more than clear that he doesn’t plan on playing for the 76ers, front office head Daryl Morey is going with the hard ball approach.
In particular, talks with Harden’s preferred destination in that of the Los Angeles Clippers continues to hit major roadblocks.
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers are holding out for young Clippers guard Terenace Mann. They also want more than one first-round pick and pick swaps in exchange for the disgruntled Harden.
As of right now, Los Angeles is said to be offering up a mere first-round selection, the aforementioned pick swaps and expiring contracts. For a Philadelphia organization that still believes it can contend with reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, that doesn’t seem to be enough.
Will the Philadelphia 76ers trade James Harden before opening night?
It’s getting rather late in the process for the 76ers. Harden has really only been linked to the Clippers since he made it clear behind the scenes that’s where he wants to land. This complicates things for Morey and Co.
The expiring contracts Los Angeles is likely offering up includes Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington. From the 76ers’ perspective, none of the three would provide anything in comparison to what we saw from Harden a season ago despite some overall regression.
- James Harden stats (2022-23): 21.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 10.7 APG, 39% 3-point
Adding the three to the mix also wouldn’t necessarily move the needle despite Tyrese Maxey’s ascension to stardom behind Embiid.
Morey and the 76ers want another star player in return for Harden. Mann, 26, has not necessarily been that since the Clippers made him a second-round pick out of Florida State back in 2019. But he would provide solid overall shooting (52% FG, 39% 3-point in 2022-23).
There is also a chance that Philadelphia is able to get a third team involved in trade talks. However, that complicates things with just over a week to go before the regular season opens.
It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what happens on this front over the next several days. For now, it appears that the 76ers and Clippers are once again at a crossroads in Harden trade talks.