Since he opted into his contract for the 2023-24 season, it’s been public knowledge that James Harden wants the Philadelphia 76ers to trade him to the Los Angeles Clippers. They still have not granted his request. On October 9, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne explained what is stopping the Clippers from pulling the trigger on a Harden trade.
“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 NBA Today. “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.”
If the Clippers were willing to cave to the Sixers’ demands from the get-go, then this situation would have been over already, but the Clippers clearly want to get Harden for as little as possible since they are his only suitor. They have to be careful, though, because the Miami Heat thought they had the leverage in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes until they found out too late that they didn’t.
James Harden Being Good Trooper in Hopes of Trade: Report
Since playing in training camp, Harden has not stirred up any drama with the team during practice, but it appears this is intentional. The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Shams Charania reported that Harden has been a good soldier in the hopes of getting traded to the Clippers.
“League sources say Harden also is taking part because he remains hopeful that a trade to the Clippers is still in the works and believes, for now, that it would be wise to not be a distraction. And the Clippers, league sources say, are going to great lengths to make it happen,” they wrote in an October 5 story.
They added what the Clippers have been willing to offer the Sixers and why they have held out for more.
“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.”
The Sixers have made it clear that even if Harden wants out, they’re not giving him up for the sake of doing so. The Clippers may think the Sixers don’t have a choice on the matter, but the Sixers are banking on the Clippers’ desperation to get over the hump.
LA Wants James Harden ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’: Report
On October 8, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Countdown that the Clippers want Harden as soon as possible but don’t want to increase their offer.
“The Clippers would like to get a deal done sooner than later, they also don’t want to raise their offer given they’re the only team that is bidding on (Harden).”
While Wojnarowski confirmed that the Clippers are willing to offer picks, as Amick and Charania confirmed, he added why Daryl Morey isn’t too keen on acquiring those from the Clippers.
“Where Daryl Morey’s looking at the Clippers and saying, ‘Steve Balmer’s never been under .500, they will figure out a way to have a competitive team. That may not be a great pick.'”
Wojnarowski finished by saying that the two sides are “not close to anything.”
The Clippers may be increasing their efforts to acquire Harden, but this has been the same story throughout the summer. The Clippers have to ask themselves if it’s worth it to play the long game knowing Harden is 34, and the Sixers have to ask themselves if it’s worth it to keep Harden knowing that his contract will expire in 2024.