Trade discussions between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers regarding James Harden have been at a stalemate ever since he first opted into his contract for the 2023-24 season. With the season merely days away, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported what the Clippers are and aren’t willing to offer the Sixers.
“The Clippers want to get a deal done soon. They’re offering a first-round pick, a draft-pick swap, and expiring contracts for the 2018 MVP and three-time scoring champion. And a source said Los Angeles doesn’t want to raise their offer. As the only team bidding for him, the source said the Clippers don’t feel a need to do so. The source said Morey is the one holding up the deal.
“But the plan to add draft-pick swaps in a package for Harden hasn’t moved the needle for the Sixers. They’ve said they’re interested in a package that includes Clippers guard Terance Mann and first-round picks. But the source said Morey knows Mann is untouchable,” Pompey reported in an October 15 story.
Mann is not an all-star, but he has proven himself as a solid complementary player in the past, having helped the Clippers beat the Utah Jazz to advance to their first Western Conference Finals as a franchise in 2021.
James Harden Sings Nick Nurse’s Praises
Though Harden remains at odds with the Sixers’ organization, he holds new head coach Nick Nurse in high regard. On October 13, Harden explained why he thinks Nurse is a good coach.
“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 then explained what makes Nurse different as a coach compared to some of the previous coaching regimes Harden has played under.
“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.”
While Harden clearly is not lashing out at the Sixers’ personnel, the fact that he still wants out despite his high respect for Nurse speaks to how badly he wants out of Philadelphia.
Tyrese Maxey Surprised By James Harden’s Professionalism
Many anticipated that Harden would be a nuisance during training camp, but that has not been the case. Harden’s actions surprised Tyrese Maxey, who praised the former MVP for how good of an influence he’s been despite his desire to be traded.
“First of all, Imma give a shoutout to James,” Maxey told J.J. Redick on the October 12 episode of Redick’s “The Old Man & The Three” podcast. “He didn’t make it weird at all. He came in and he was very, like, not what I was expecting. He was very receptive. He worked hard. He did all the drills. He was talking to, even like, young guys that he didn’t know. James Harden, MVP, scoring champ, two-time assist leader, he’s sitting there talking to guys like Ricky Council, ‘Hey, when you’re help, you should do this.’ It’s not what I was picturing.”
Harden is reportedly acting this way to make it easier to facilitate a trade to the Clippers. It hasn’t worked yet, but if Harden continues to trooper when the season starts, the Clippers may relent and send the Sixers Mann as they want.