Sixers Have Had ‘Preliminary’ Trade Talks for $215 Million All-Star: Report

Zach LaVine

Getty Zach LaVine (R) of the Chicago Bulls

The Philadelphia 76ers are in a pickle with James Harden. Despite that he has opted into his contract, Harden reportedly did so with the intention of getting traded by the Sixers. While it may be hard for the Sixers to pull off a beneficiary Harden trade for themselves, they have had talks of acquiring All-Star guard Zach Lavine from the Chicago Bulls.

Bulls Insider K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported that the Sixers are among the teams that have discussed acquiring LaVine, which may or may not involve trading Harden.

“The LaVine trade chatter isn’t going away. In fact, league sources said that LaVine has landed in preliminary conversations with both the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, who are working with James Harden and Damian Lillard, respectively, to find them new homes.”

If the Sixers were to work on a deal to acquire LaVine with Harden involved, it would probably take more than Harden alone to make a deal with the Bulls. Johnson added that the Bulls value LaVine quite highly as a trade asset.

“The Bulls recognize LaVine represents their biggest trade asset. And league sources said the Bulls’ asking price in any conversation about LaVine has consistently been extremely high.”

‘Door Shut’ on James Harden’s Return to Sixers

The Sixers could play the Harden situation out in the hopes of him coming back to play for the team as the season approaches. However, Sam Amick revealed on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast that Harden has no intention of playing for the Sixers again.

“When I essentially asked the question of, ‘Is there a small percentage chance that you find a way for James to settle down, ala Kevin Durant last summer, and get him back on the court at the start of the season?’ That door, I was told, was shut right away. The Sixers understand that’s not happening.”

Amick was then told, “We’ll see,” when he asked if Harden’s desire to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers would be granted.

Harden wouldn’t have much of a place on the Bulls were he to be traded for LaVine, which is why a possible three-team trade involving the Clippers could be feasible.

Tyrese Maxey Not on the Table

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed that the Sixers could very well have Damian Lillard on the team right now, but the reason why they don’t is because they refuse to include Tyrese Maxey in any trade for Lillard.

“Of the available pieces that you see on the board that could be offered for Dame Lillard, I think (Tyrese) Maxey is the prime piece. And again, if Philadelphia was making that offer, Dame Lillard might be in Philly right now. But they are not. They are pulling back from that,” Windhorst said on July 3.

Exchanging Maxey and Harden for only Lillard is a lot to exchange for the 32-year-old star. It gets more complicated knowing that the Trail Blazers are planning to trade Lillard to kickstart a rebuild, so Harden wouldn’t have a place on the team. Clearly, the Sixers value Maxey enough that they believe it wouldn’t be worth it to trade him for someone with the resume that Lillard has