The LA Clippers 2023–24 season is now underway but their roster may soon dramatically change. After spending part of the summer pursuing an all-star, they made the surprise decision to pull back on trade talks with the Philadelphia 76ers.
While that closes the door on a trade for star James Harden, LA may revisit the deal in a month or two. That will depend on how they start the season, according to ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
A strong start out of the gate would decrease the need for a big trade while also taking some leverage away from the Sixers. After all, the Clippers have been the only team linked to Harden, and the Sixers are left to wait for LA to make up their minds.
Of course, with Harden a free agent after this season, if it takes a couple of months before the Clippers resume trades, then they will surely offer even less than what the Sixers have already rejected.
The latest Clippers trade intel adds a surprising twist to the pursuit of James Harden.
Thus far, the biggest hangup in a potential Harden trade between the Sixers and Clippers has been Terrence Mann. Despite the Clippers’ reluctance to trade guard Terrence Mann to the 76ers, Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reports that they offered him to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Jrue Holiday. Although they didn’t come close to acquiring Holiday, it’s telling that they offered up Mann for him but not Harden.
The Clippers are clearly playing hardball with the Sixers, hoping that they can land an all-star for pennies on the dollar and it might actually work. Harden has yet to suit up for the Sixers in the preseason or the regular season after being away from the team and then being turned away from a team flight.
His absence from the Sixers is even being investigated by the league, likely putting pressure on Sixers president Darryl Morey to get a deal done. If that is the case, then they may be forced to settle for Nic Batum, Robert Covington, and Marcus Morris, a first, and a pick swap. Meanwhile, the Clippers would add Harden and keep Mann while giving up minimal assets.
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If no other team emerges as a trade destination for Harden and the Clippers get off to a good enough start, then they could force the Sixers’ hand.