In an effort to lure James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers in free agency, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus concocted a mock trade involving three teams that would send a pair of All-NBA defenders, Draymond Green and OG Anunoby, as well as 17-point-per-game scorer Gary Trent Jr., to the Houston Rockets.
“The timing and order of operations would need to be precise, but in July, the Rockets could sign Harden to the max, acquire Green on an extend-and-trade from Golden State and land both Anunoby and Trent from the Raptors,” Pincus prefaced before saying, “The bounty from Houston would be divided between the Warriors and Toronto.”
Pincus broke down what pieces would go to the Golden State Warriors (for Green) and the Toronto Raptors (for Anunoby and Trent) in exchange for the three starting caliber players.
“Perhaps it’s No. 4 and one of the Rockets’ top three prospects (Jalen Green, Jabari Smith or Alperen Sengun) to Toronto, with (Kenyon) Martin and (Kevin) Porter to the Warriors. Golden State gets a well-regarded young role player in Martin at $1.9 million for 2023-24, a $9.8 million trade exception and an incredible $153.5 million tax savings with Green gone and Porter stretched.”
Rockets Can Target Karl-Anthony Towns to Pair With James Harden
The other situation Pincus floated for the Rockets to lure Harden from the Sixers is a three-team arrangement that’d land Karl-Anthony Towns in the Space City — a situation that’d require a third team to give the Minnesota Timberwolves proper value for the big man if Scoot Henderson isn’t available at Houston’s No. 4 slot in the 2023 NBA draft.
“If Scoot Henderson isn’t there at No. 4 (he’s projected at No. 3 by B/R’s Jonathan Wasserman), then the Timberwolves may need Houston to rope in another franchise if it’s giving up Towns,” Pincus wrote.
Pincus floated the Atlanta Hawks as a potential third trade partner in this scenario due to their looming cap crunch involving Dejounte Murray’s financial future. Murray, according to Pincus, could be a replacement for Mike Conley in Minnesota’s backcourt.
“The Hawks are facing a more immediate problem under the new CBA, with a payroll projected to be $172 million and $16.4 million in luxury taxes (more if players hit various incentives),” Pincus wrote. “The team is believed to be looking for a home for John Collins, but some whispers abound that Dejounte Murray could be had in the right deal.”
‘Zero’ Percent Chance James Harden Leaves Sixers for Suns, Says Phoenix Radio Host
While the Harden-Rockets reunion possibility remains on the table, the chance that “The Beard” becomes a teammate of Kevin Durant for the third time in their careers on the Phoenix Suns has a “zero” percent chance of happening according to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix’s John Gambadoro.
“Can we stop with these ridiculous James Harden reports,” Gambadoro prefaced before saying, “There is a zero percent chance this would happen. ZERO.”
The Sixers would’ve needed to accept a sign-and-trade offer from the Suns that would send Chris Paul back to Philadelphia. Whether or not Daryl Morey wants to do so in order to not send Harden back to their shared former franchise is unclear at this point.