Sixers’ James Harden Linked to Suns to Form ‘Big 4’ via Trade

Getty Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden was linked to a Western Conference contender to form a Big Four

James Harden has been linked to the Phoenix Suns through the NBA’s rumor mill, as The Arizona Republic’s Jeremy Cluff points out — with the Philadelphia 76ers star likely to be acquired by the Suns using former No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton.

“James Harden, Killian Hayes and T.J. McConnell are among the names swirling as potential acquisitions for the Suns, while Deandre Ayton’s name continues to show up as a potential trade chip for Phoenix,” Cluff prefaced before saying, “Any moves from the Suns would require some creative thinking and maneuvering due to Phoenix’s current salary cap situation.”

Phoenix has already made two superstar acquisitions in the 2023 calendar year; landing Kevin Durant (and T.J. Warren) from the Brooklyn Nets for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, four first-round picks, and a 2028 draft swap, and bringing on Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards in a three-team trade for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, four future first-round pick swaps and six future second-round picks. The Indiana Pacers also sent Bilal Coulibaly to the Wizards for Jarace Walker and landed two future second-round picks.

Tracy McGrady Unsure Why James Harden Wants 76ers Trade

During an interview with Howard Beck for GQ, NBA legend Tracy McGrady openly questioned why Harden would want a trade from the Sixers given his situation playing alongside the league’s reigning MVP Joel Embiid.

“I don’t understand for the life of me what James Harden is doing,” McGrady prefaced before saying, “Why are you trying to get out? That makes zero sense to me. Not only that, but I look at all the teammates he’s played with. James has probably played with more Hall of Famers than anybody in the league, and he doesn’t have a ring to show for it. I don’t know what he’s looking for. And maybe there’s some internal b******* that is going on that we don’t know about. Because it doesn’t make any sense to me to leave the MVP, and the Eastern Conference, where you have a shot to at least play for a championship. It’s got to be something deeper than what you know. Get over it, man.”

As someone whose one career knock was that he never won an NBA Championship, McGrady comes off as angry at Harden for not understanding how difficult it is to find the kind of supporting cast The Beard currently has.

Doc Rivers: James Harden Was ‘Hard to Coach’ on Sixers

The Suns, or any other team that could land Harden in a trade, will be getting a former MVP who was called “hard to coach” by Doc Rivers, Harden’s most recent Sixers head coach.

“It was challenging, more because we were fighting two things—and not like visually fighting—it was James is so good at playing one way, and the way I believe you have to play to win, in some ways, is different,” Rivers said during an appearance on the June 13 edition of the Bill Simmons Podcast. “Because it’s a lot of giving up the ball, moving the ball, coming back to the ball. I would have loved to have him younger, when that was easier for him because giving up the ball and getting back the ball is hard. It’s physical, it’s exhausting.”

With Durant, Beal, and Devin Booker already in tow, adding Harden could further complicate how to allocate touches in Phoenix’s offense.