NBA rumors are flying around at a near never-ending clip with the 2020-21 season slated to start in about a week. Most of said rumors have surrounded the status of Houston Rockets star guard James Harden, who wants to be traded.
However, Harden’s former general manager Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers are also reportedly in play. That’s obviously contingent on Philadelphia pulling a 180 and offering up Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid in a trade. We now have more information about a potential Harden to Philadelphia deal. In short, it’s not going to happen.
NBA rumors: Rockets have insane asking price from 76ers in James Harden trade
According to NBA insider Yaron Weitzman (formerly of Bleacher Report), Houston is demanding Ben Simmons and three first-roud picks for the three-time reigning NBA scoring champion.
No one is going to argue that Simmons is anywhere near the player James Harden is. However, he’s seven years younger and under team control through the 2024-25 season. Harden can opt out of his deal following the 2021-22 campaign. That, in and of itself, makes a Harden-for-Simmons straight up swap reasonable.
Now, the Rockets are coming in and demanding three first-round picks in addition to Simmons. It’s highly likely that said demand includes all three picks being lightly protected. If that is indeed the case, it’s hard to imagine a James Harden trade being worked out here soon.
Related: James Harden trade scenarios
NBA rumors: Where a potential James Harden trade stands
Another report on Monday indicated that the Rockets are not interested in acquiring Kyrie Irving as the centerpiece in any trade that would send Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. NBA rumors suggest that they previously pushed back against the idea of acquiring a young trio in that of Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert for Harden.
Heck, it’s not yet known whether Brooklyn would even be willing to part ways with Irving now that he’s finally teaming up with Kevin Durant in New York City.
These are the complications right now. Based on the Rockets’ rumored asking price from the Nets and 76ers for Harden and the fact that the Clippers just extended Paul George, three top-end contenders for Harden’s services seem to have gone away.
That leaves the Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors as potential trade scenarios. Recent NBA rumors suggest that Harden is open to going to Milwaukee. However, it’s not yet known whether a package surrounding Khris Middleton would work. As for the Miami Heat, any deal would have to send Tyler Herro back to Houston. Again, that’s an open question.
The Warriors’ reported interest in James Harden came prior to Klay Thompson suffering a torn Achilles last month. It’s not yet known whether they are still in on a potential blockbuster trade for the star guard.
The backdrop here is obvious. Harden missed the opening of practice earlier this month. Instead, he was seen partying in Georgia and Las Vegas in violation of the NBA COVID-19 protocols. New Rockets head coach Stephen Silas is not a happy camper.
As the 2020-21 season gets going here soon, NBA rumors will continue to swirl surrounding Harden. If something is not worked out, drama could be the name of the game behind the scenes in Houston. That could be a major issue for Silas as he attempts to implement his system and change the culture within the organization.