Roadblock Emerges for Sixers in Potential James Harden-Clippers Trade

James Harden, Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kawhi Leonard, James Harden

Ever since he opted into his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden‘s preferred destination has reportedly been the Los Angeles Clippers. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported that while the interest is mutual, there is a roadblock on the Clippers’ end that prevents a deal from getting a deal done.

“For weeks, Sixers officials have been canvassing the NBA for a satisfactory offer. It isn’t there. The Clippers, Harden’s preferred destination, are interested. But not, it seems, at the cost of Terance Mann and what’s left of their first-round draft capital,” Mannix wrote.

Despite his reputation around the NBA, Harden is on an expiring contract, so, despite his talent, there’s the possibility of trading assets for someone who may not stick around after the season ends. Worse yet, this is the third trade request he’s made since 2020, as he’s wanted off the Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, and now the Sixers.

With that kind of history, especially knowing how often it’s occurred in such a short amount of time, teams may not trust someone like Harden to stay. As this situation persists, it may come down to which side blinks first, or it may come down to another suitor offering more in the near future.

Relationship Between James Harden & Daryl Morey ‘Severed’

On July 17, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Sixers’ current predicament has led to a falling out between Harden and Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey.

“The relationship between James Harden and Daryl Morey…is essentially severed. It’s essentially fractured throughout this process. There’s no longer that valve of open-minded, open-ended trust that we’ve seen over the course of the 692 games that Daryl Morey and James Harden have been together in Houston and in Philly,” Charania said.

Charania reiterated Harden’s desire to join the Clippers while adding that teams around the league believe that’s how the situation will play out.

“(Harden) wants a trade, and he wants a trade to the Clippers. And rival teams I’ve spoke to in Vegas, and now, they still believe that’s the path that the Sixers to go down potentially, but it’s going to come down to those two teams engaging and really getting to a potential deal.”

Mannix’s and Charania’s reports indicate that Harden will end up with the Clippers. The question will be, who caves first?

Daryl Morey’s Thoughts on James Harden’s Trade Request

Morey gave his first public thoughts on Harden’s trade request on the July 18 episode of “The Anthony Gargano Show” on WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic.

“The reality is, if we do look at a trade, it’s going to be for one of two things,” Morey said. “It’s either going to be for a player who continues to help us be right there like we were last year, up three-two on one of the best teams in the East in the Celtics.”

Morey then explained what he wants in a trade for Harden.

“If we don’t get a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, then we’re just not going to do it,” Morey said. “And if James were to turn his mind around, we would all be thrilled. But, at this moment, he does prefer to be traded, and we are attempting to honor that.”