The Philadelphia 76ers have let the James Harden saga play out ever since he opted into his contract with the hopes of being traded on June 29. The Athletic’s Shams Charania gave the latest update on where things stand on the Sixers potentially trading to his preferred team, the Los Angeles Clippers, on August 8.
“The Philadelphia 76ers and LA Clippers are expected to engage again in discussions on a Harden trade this offseason, league sources who are involved in the discussions but unauthorized to speak on the matter say. Harden still prefers to be moved, and Philadelphia is working to honor his wish, as 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey recently said,” Charania wrote.
While Morey and Co. apparently plan to appease Harden’s trade request, the real question is what they are willing to accept in return for the former MVP. Teams don’t typically give good value up for someone who could be a flight risk after one season. The Sixers will want a package that keeps them in contention with Joel Embiid on the roster, but they may not have a choice but to accept what the Clippers are willing to offer, which may not be much.
Sixers Planned to Offer 2-Year Deal to James Harden: Insider
“To my understanding, the best the Sixers would’ve considered was something along the lines of a two-year deal, which would’ve included a team option, and that type of short-term commitment wasn’t going to appeal to Harden,” Scotto said in a discussion with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey on “The HoopsHype Podcast.”
Scotto explained why Harden technically elected to stay with the Sixers though his plan was to get traded to the Clippers.
“Harden knew the team he wanted to go to, the Clippers, and the only way to get there and get his money was to opt in because of their restrictions with the salary cap,” Scotto said. “There’s still been dialogue between the two teams.”
Clippers Have Discussed P.J. Tucker in Trade Talks: Report
On July 21, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto revealed that P.J. Tucker has also been discussed in trade talks involving Harden.
“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 Clippers have multiple expiring contracts to offer for Harden – Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington – all of whom are wings. With them potentially being traded for Harden, that would hurt the Clippers’ wing depth. That is where acquiring Tucker along with Harden in a trade would come in handy.
The Sixers may also be motivated to trade Tucker to help them with cap flexibility for 2024, with multiple contracts coming off the books.