Insider Reveals What Sixers Planned to Offer James Harden Before Trade Request

James Harden

Getty James Harden

It appears the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden are approaching a divorce. Though Harden opted into his contract, he did so with the hopes of being traded, according to multiple reports. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on August 5 what the Sixers would have offered Harden had he entered free agency.

“To my understanding, the best the Sixers would’ve considered was something along the lines of a two-year deal, which would’ve included a team option, and that type of short-term commitment wasn’t going to appeal to Harden,” Scotto said in a discussion with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey on “The HoopsHype Podcast.”

Scotto explained Harden’s decision to opt in with the Sixers despite his desire to get traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Harden knew the team he wanted to go to, the Clippers, and the only way to get there and get his money was to opt in because of their restrictions with the salary cap,” Scotto said. “There’s still been dialogue between the two teams.”

It has been over a month since Harden opted in with hopes of being traded, and still no dice.

Proposed 4-Way Trade Would Swap James Harden for Scoring Duo

On August 3, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey proposed a four-way trade between the Sixers, Portland Trail BlazersChicago Bulls and Miami Heat that would swap Harden and Tobias Harris for a scoring duo that, in his words, would give the Sixers “a younger and more explosive offense.”

Bailey proposed the following deal.

Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Harden, Kyle Lowry, Jaime Jacquez, Nikola Jović, Heat 2028 first-round pick, Heat 2030 first-round pick, Bulls 2030 second-round pick

Miami Heat Receive: Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkić, 2029 Sixers second-round pick (via Chicago), Bulls 2028 second-round pick

Philadelphia 76ers Receive: Zach LaVine, Tyler Herro, TrailBlazers 2029 second-round pick

Chicago Bulls Receive: Harris, Caleb Martin, Keon Johnson, 2029 first-round pick swap with the Sixers, Sixers 2030 first-round pick

Bailey explained that the Sixers would want LaVine and Herro on the team.

“Neither LaVine nor Herro will ever be the passer Harden is, but LaVine is six years younger than Harden, and Herro is 11 years younger. Both have proven an ability to score 20-plus points per game while chipping in a decent amount of playmaking. Both are more consistent three-point shooters than Harden, too.

“While they may not facilitate quite as many wide-open looks for Joel Embiid, the attention they’ll command on the perimeter will make it harder for opposing defenses to rush Embiid’s catches inside the arc.”

Clippers ‘Unserious’ in James Harden Talks: Report

On July 28, Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck revealed that though the Clippers want Harden, they’re not willing to give up much to get him.

“Even the Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination, have been fairly unserious about what they’re willing to give up in order to acquire him,” Neubeck wrote. “The prevailing sentiment seems to be that Harden is still valued, but on the team’s terms, which is a shift from the franchise-defining clout Harden had at his peak.”

Neubeck added that though Harden has a market, teams aren’t pushing for him like he hopes they would.

“There will still be a market for him regardless, but at the moment, it seems like there’s a disconnect between what the player wants it to be and what teams think it is.”