Following all the hoopla surrounding James Harden and Damian Lillard with the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively, veteran NBA guard Austin Rivers gave his thoughts on star players and their trade demands. Rivers singled out Harden and Ben Simmons in the process on The Ringer.
“Regardless of how good of a player you are, man, the NBA is a privilege. And if you are a free agent, then you can choose where you’re gonna go. That’s the business, but when you’re not, you signed a deal, man. That’s part of the business, bro. If you get traded somewhere like, you gotta go play, man. You know what I mean? This started with like James and Ben (Simmons) and all these guys doing it.”
Doc Rivers‘ son added that how they’ve handled their trade demands is bad for the NBA.
“This s*** is bad for the league. This is why our CBA deal that we just signed, and I don’t want to get heavy into that. That thing is, don’t get me f***ing started on that deal that we got going because it’s top-heavy.”
Despite Harden’s and Lillard’s requests, their teams have all the power in this situation because they decide when it’s time to trade them and who they want to trade them to.
PJ Tucker Has Come Up in Trade Discussions: Report
“PJ Tucker, Harden’s longtime teammate with the Rockets and Sixers, has come up in trade discussions between the 76ers and Clippers, league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote. “The Clippers covet Tucker’s ability to guard multiple positions and defend the league’s top opposing scorers. Tucker is owed $11 million this upcoming year and has a $11.54 million player option for the 2024-25 season.”
The expiring contracts the Clippers could offer for Harden – Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nicolas Batum – are all wings, which happens to be the same position as Tucker. It would help with their wing depth and versatility, plus Tucker could play center in a small-ball lineup.
Tim Hardaway Believes James Harden’s Not a Winner
During his appearance on “The Carton Show,” NBA Hall of Famer Tim Hardaway gave his brutally honest thoughts on Harden following his trade request, saying that he doesn’t believe Harden sees winning as a top priority.
“James Harden wants to do what James Harden wants to do. He’s looking out for James Harden. He’s not looking out for a team. He wants to get paid as much money as he can. He really doesn’t care about championships,” Hardaway said.
The Hall of Famer added Harden’s decline as a player makes him less appealing as a trade target, which is why he believes his situation with the Sixers will take its sweet time.
“I think he’s declining right now. I think his game is declining, and I think other teams are like, ‘Well, we don’t need him.’ I think he put himself in a corner, and it’s his fault. Now he’s going to have to live with it. He’s going to have to play for the 76ers until they get a deal done that’s right for them. Until then, I think it’s going to be the same way as Ben Simmons and that whole situation.”