James Harden has been on the trade block for months but Daryl Morey and the 76ers have been reluctant to move Harden for just any return. Here’s why Philidelphia needs to trade him now.
After another disappointing second-round exit, this time at the hands of the Boston Celtics, there was serious concern that James Harden would leave the 76ers in free agency to join his former team, the Houston Rockets.
However; Houston decided to spend their money on veteran point guard Fred Vanvleet instead, with head coach Ime Udoka stating Vanvleet was a better fit because he is not nearly as ball-dominant as Harden.
Harden was left with essentially no choice but to return to Philidelphia, picking up his $35 million player option and agreeing with the front office to find a trade. While the 76ers did have negotiations with the Los Angeles Clippers, talks stalled between the two teams with Daryl Morey insisting on LA to include additional assets, those assets likely being Terrance Mann and future draft picks.
Why the Philadelphia 76ers must trade James Harden ASAP
The reality of the situation though, is that Morey has no leverage, as Harden reportedly is not traveling with the team. And when you have an MVP on your roster in Joel Embiid, you can’t waste time and money paying $35 million dollars for someone to stay at the practice facility.
To put it simply, whatever the Clippers are willing to offer for Harden is what Philidelphia has to accept unless Harden actually plays, which seems extremely unlikely at this point.
Now I realize that Philidelphia was in a similar situation with the Ben Simmons saga two years ago, and by waiting it out until the trade deadline they got better value than they would’ve if they settled earlier on. But this time around, they can’t count on a star player to become available at the perfect time.
Even if that turns out to be the case, they would have spent most of what could be Joel Embiid’s last season with the franchise if he requests a trade next summer, limiting their own ceiling.
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Think about it this way: Would you rather be spending $35 million for nothing, or a couple of role players and a pick or two? As obvious as the answer seems, Daryl Morey is putting the 76ers franchise in jeopardy by not realizing it.