Proposed Trade Reunites Sixers With Former No. 1 Pick for James Harden

James Harden

Getty James Harden

James Harden may want to join the Los Angeles Clippers, but the Philadelphia 76ers can send him wherever they choose. If they pass on sending him to the Clippers, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley proposed a trade that would send Harden to the Orlando Magic to reunite them with a former face.

Buckley proposed the following trade between the Sixers and Magic in an October 9 story.

Magic receive: James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers receive: Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Cole Anthony, and a 2025 first-round pick (top-five-protected, via Denver)

Buckley explained why the Sixers would take Fultz back for a second go-round along with the others.

“What Philly would get is three rotation-caliber players—all under the age of 30—and a first-round pick. Sixers fans who only remember Fultz struggling after the franchise took him first overall in 2017 should note that he’s since become a two-way playmaker (though he remains without an outside shot). Harris is one of the better three-and-D guards in the game. Anthony is a quick-strike scorer who could beef up the bench’s ability to generate instant offense.

“These aren’t difference-makers, but each could handle a rotation role, and both Harris and Fultz could challenge for a starting spot in a Harden-less backcourt. Fultz and Anthony, meanwhile, still have enough theoretical upside that they could sweeten the offer in a different deal should Philly prefer to go that route.”

With their current roster, getting younger isn’t exactly what the Sixers need, but it’s not like they have so many offers to choose from. It would lower their ceiling, but it wouldn’t be a disaster.

Clippers Trying Not to Bid Against Themselves: Insider

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Clippers know what they must do to acquire Harden but don’t want to bid more than what they feel is required.

“From what I’ve been told, the Clippers know what they need to do to get James Harden. It’s just a question of whether they want to go all the way there. As Adrian Wojnarowski was explaining, can they get more creative with some of the assets that they already have so that they’re not bidding against themselves?” Shelburne said on the October 9 episode of NBA Today.

Shelburne added what the Clippers are banking on in the Harden trade discussions.

“They’re really bidding against the Sixers’ willingness to take any kind of compromise. James Harden can change things in an instant with whatever he wants to say when he finally starts talking.”

The Sixers would like this to be over once and for all, but clearly and justifiably want to squeeze as much out of the Clippers as possible.

Sixers Coveting Terance Mann for James Harden: Report

On October 5, The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Shams Charania reported what the Clippers had offered the Sixers in exchange for Harden and why the Sixers have remained steadfast in rejecting said offer.

“The Clippers offered the Sixers an unprotected first-round pick, a pick swap, and salaries for Harden in July, league sources say, but Philadelphia has set a much higher threshold. The Sixers have valued fifth-year forward Terance Mann and multiple first-round picks in a potential trade with the Clippers,” they wrote in an October 5 story.

This really may all come down to whether the Clippers relent on including Terance Mann, who helped the team go the furthest they’ve ever gone as a franchise when he helped them reach the Western Conference Finals in 2021. He’s not a star, but he’s a productive point guard who could help the Sixers stay afloat following a possible Harden trade.