After several blockbuster trades during the NBA offseason, it seems likely that at least one more big deal could happen before the start of the season. Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has been the subject of trade rumors since he vowed never to play for the Sixers again.
Thus far, only the LA Clippers have been rumored for Harden but Bleacher Report has linked several teams to him ahead of the regular season. The Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and San Antonio Spurs have all been speculated to be potential landing spots for the former MVP.
While Bleacher Report is not reporting that either team is interested in trading for Harden, there is a case to be made for each franchise taking a chance on him. The Lakers had a successful offseason but perhaps not successful enough to beat the defending champion Denver Nuggets. Even if they are, then they may not be able to beat the Milwaukee Bucks or the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
The Raptors have a talented roster but seem to be stuck between being a fringe play-in team and being too good to end up with a high-lottery pick. Even if they were, they owe a lightly protected pick to the Spurs either this season or next. Speaking of the Spurs, they need an upgrade at point guard and while Harden probably isn’t their first choice, he is an upgrade.
NBA Rumors: Would the Lakers, Raptors, and Spurs trade for Harden?
Of the three teams, the Lakers would seem to be the most likely candidate to acquire him. After all, the Raptors would probably have to trade star Pascal Siakam and including him in a deal for Harden wouldn’t make sense for Toronto. Especially since they’d be trying to compete by trading for him.
The Spurs could be better than expected thanks to Victor Wembanyama but not so much that they’d take a risk in acquiring a big personality like Harden. That leaves the Lakers. While they could use more top-level talent, they have built a pretty strong roster as is and if a few things go right for them, then they could be right where they need to be come playoff time.
The NBA season is almost here but a recently proposed deal between the Spurs and Wolves would see both teams change up their front court to try and win now.
Ultimately, it seems more likely than not that these three teams will opt to sit out the Harden sweepstakes. That leaves only the Clippers, though another team could always emerge.