Sixers Make Final Decision With James Harden After Trade Request: Report

James Harden

Getty James Harden

On August 12, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Philadelphia 76ers have opted not to trade James Harden following his trade request with the intention of him showing up to training camp.

“ESPN Sources: The 76ers have ended trade talks on guard James Harden and plan to bring him back to training camp for start of the season. The Sixers had periodic offseason conversations with the Clippers — Harden’s desired destination — but no traction on a deal materialized,” Wojnarowski wrote via his personal Twitter.

Wojnarowski added why the Sixers are going this route with Harden.

“Sixers and Harden agreed to seek a trade together after Harden picked up his player option for 2023-2024, but Philly believes it has a championship team with Harden and want to find a way to make it work with him this season, sources said.”

Wojnarowki concluded by reiterating Harden’s strong desire to be traded, but the Sixers don’t want to get rid of him.

“Harden has been emphatic in wanting a trade, so the Sixers are setting up an uncomfortable situation to start camp. Ultimately, Philadelphia wouldn’t make a trade that they believed would compromise their title hopes.”

With Harden now coming back, the Sixers have basically run back the core ingredients of last season’s squad while adding Patrick Beverley and Mo Bamba.

Sixers Planned to Offer James Harden Short Deal: Insider

On August 5, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the Sixers planned to offer Harden a short-term deal had he opted for 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 why Harden opted into his contract despite his sights being set on joining the 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.”

For now, the Sixers have put the kibosh on any discussions of a Harden trade, but that could change as time goes on.

Clippers Were ‘Fairly Unserious’ in Trade Talks With Sixers

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.”

This may explain why the Sixers decided not to engage any further in trade discussions. The Sixers evidently don’t want to give Harden away despite his desire to be traded. Now that they’re playing the long game with his request, Harden may have a counter of his own to force a trade out.