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Philadelphia 76ers place ‘extremely high’ asking price on James Harden trade

On Thursday, it was reported that James Harden wanted a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers after surprisingly opting into his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. We’ve yet to see a trade come to fruition. Why?

The 76ers, coming off yet another disappointing playoff run that saw them get eliminated in the second round of action, have since fired coach Doc Rivers. But they responded by hiring another former NBA champion in Nick Nurse, and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid is still on the roster, likely as the lone untouchable player on the roster regarding potential trades.

In other words, the 76ers are expecting to run it back and get better results in the 2023-24 season. This isn’t an organization looking to take a step back any time soon.

So if/when Harden is traded, it won’t be in an effort to clear cap space, add young players who have potential or any other return that won’t immediately give the Sixers a chance to compete.

Perhaps that’s why the 76ers are said to be playing hardball with the seven-time All-NBA guard. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers are placing an “extremely high asking price” on Harden and are expecting a strong trade return.

“But it’s different with James Harden; one year left on his deal. Wherever he’s traded, he’s on an expiring contract. You saw how Daryl Morey handled the Ben Simmons situation a couple of years ago. He waited him out, waited him out, tried to convince him to come back. Now, it never worked but what’s different with James Harden is there’s a relationship with Daryl Morey, with Tad Brown, the president who oversees the 76ers, from back with their time in Houston. That’s a different factor in this. And so far, teams who’ve talked to Philadelphia, the asking price is extremely high. That’s what you expect starting out with Daryl Morey. Again, I think this is a process that’s not going to get resolved quickly.

ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on James Harden trade talks

With Daryl Morey, who’s acquired Harden twice in his career now (Once in Houston and once in Philly) in charge, it makes sense that he wouldn’t be eager to part with one of the team’s top talents.

With Damian Lillard now on the market too, Harden may have to wait a while before learning where he’ll be playing basketball next season. But it’s clear there’s genuine interest, it just depends on how much a team is willing to pay to add the 2023 NBA assist leader.

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