For those wondering if the Philadelphia 76ers will resolve the James Harden drama before the season starts, Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer provided the latest on where things stand between the Sixers and the Los Angeles Clippers in trade discussions.
On October 17, Fischer reported via his X account that, because the Clippers aren’t willing to give up Terance Mann, Harden will likely be a Sixer on opening night.
“Being told by one source tonight that with Clippers still unwilling to include Terance Mann or additional draft capital during talks with Philadelphia in recent days, it’s increasingly likely James Harden will be on the Sixers’ roster to start the season next Thursday vs. Bucks,” Fischer wrote.
The question will be whether or not Harden plays. Harden has not been a problem since training camp began, but that can change since he now knows that, despite his public outcry to be traded, he’s likely not going anywhere.
The Clippers want Harden, but they want him at a massive discount since Terance Mann is apparently the dealbreaker in this trade. Mann is a solid role player, but he’s not a star. The Clippers are clearly willing to play hardball all season since they are Harden’s lone suitor.
James Harden ‘Unwavering’ in Desire to Join Clippers: Report
Fischer reported that while Harden may make his preseason debut on October 20, his desire to join the Clippers has remained strong.
‘There remains a belief Harden will make his season debut during Philadelphia’s final exhibition on Friday against Atlanta. And yet he remains unwavering in his desire to join the Clippers, according to league sources,” Fischer wrote in an October 17 story.
Unlike Damian Lillard, Harden is clearly not willing to expand his list of preferred destinations. Of course, unlike Lillard, Harden’s expiring contract will also turn off potentially interested teams, which might also be why the Clippers haven’t been ponying up for him either.
Harden also has a bad and recent history of wanting off teams, particularly ones he did not play very long with. First, the Brooklyn Nets, and then the Sixers. The Clippers don’t want to give up that much for a flight risk.
James Harden Gushes About Nick Nurse
Despite Harden’s issues, he could not help but sing the praises for new Sixers’ head coach Nick Nurse while talking with reporters on October 13.
“Nick is very versatile. He’s a player’s coach. He understands it and thus far — I’ve known a little bit when he was the G League coach in Houston, but obviously, he’s won a championship and he’s different. I’m a fan of him,” Harden said, per Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin.
Harden added what makes Nurse stand out to him as a coach.
“I think it’s more spacing,” Harden said. “More opportunities for everyone and just unpredictable. He can change things up on the fly, and things in one, five, six, seven possessions aren’t going right, or in one quarter, he can change and make an adjustment which is very difficult to do, but he’s very good at that.”
It is a shame that the Sixers probably won’t get to see the Harden-Nurse duo through. Harden could have benefited a lot from Nurse’s scheming.