By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Rumors began on Christmas Day that James Harden was thinking about leaving the Philadelphia 76ers. That report suggested that he wanted to go back to the Houston Rockets.
Now, fast forward seven months, Harden has made it official. He picked up his option with the team and has requested that the team work on trade possibilities.
Two teams that are being mentioned right now are the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks. The Clippers; however, are expected to be the front runner.
What the teams are looking to offer is not known at this time. Once free agency begins on Friday night, trades can officially be made. That’s when things will get interesting.
76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey was planning on trading for Harden almost immediately after he was hired by the team. He eventually made his dream come true when he made a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets in February 2022 that involved multiple pieces around Ben Simmons.
Harden, who is also known as “The Beard,” played for 1 1/2 seasons in Philadelphia. The Harden-Joel Embiid duo could not make it out of the second round of the playoffs.
The 76ers have been eliminated from the playoffs in the second round in 5 of the last 6 seasons. The team has not played in the Eastern Conference Finals since 2001.
Also, the team has not played in the NBA Finals since 2001. Morey and the fans had a dream that this dynamic duo could reach the Finals; however, things never materialized.
In his final game with the 76ers, Harden had 16 points in 41 minutes in a series-clinching loss to the Boston Celtics. He did not have a single point in the fourth quarter in the Game 7 loss.
Harden failed the team most in the fourth quarter of the series. He did not have a single point in the final quarter of Games 5, 6, or 7.
The Beard reportedly did not like working with Doc Rivers, who was fired after the playoff series loss to the Boston Celtics. He wanted Morey to hire Mike D’Antoni, who previously coached him with the Rockets.
However, Morey decided to hire former Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse instead. While Nurse said that he would want Harden back, Harden had other plans.
This could have been one of the reasons why Harden wanted out.
He played 58 regular season games. He made 58 starts.
Harden averaged 20.3 points per game in the regular season. He also had 6.2 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game.
The problem with trading a star like Harden, you never get a top-level player in return. Thus, that’s why multiple players would have to be involved to make such a deal work.© 2007-2023 The Capital Sports Report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed.