James Harden Could Cause Chaos For Sixers If Trade Saga Drags On

The Sixers might not want to test Harden's restraint.

BYBen Mock
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Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six

James Harden’s sign-to-trade return to the Sixers was one of the first major shocks of the NBA offseason. Since the veteran officially exercised his player option, the Sixers have attempted to find an equitable trade. However, hope remained within the organization that Joel Embiid, alongside new head coach Nick Nurse, could convince Harden to stay. However, it appears that Harden is set on leaving the City of Brotherly Love. According to ESPN‘s Ramona Shelburne, Harden has reiterated his desire to be traded.

Furthermore, Harden's desired destination appears to be the LA Clippers. However, trade talks have been slow. Sixers GM Daryl Morey stated in a recent radio interview that he wants a very good player or significant draft assets for Harden. Meanwhile, the Clippers have offered up Marcus Morris and Norman Powell. This leaves the two sides at an impasse and Harden still in Philadelphia. However, that could backfire for the Sixers if they wait too long.

Experts Point To Harden's Past

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 11: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 11, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

On two previous occasions, Harden has demanded a trade away from his current team. Those came at the end of his stints in Houston and Brooklyn. He could stay away from practice. However, Harden historically has a much more proactive way of forcing the hand of his current team. "Harden is a future Hall of Famer, a Top 75 player of all time with scoring titles and an MVP of his own. He is also well practiced — from the end of Harden’s tenure in Houston, as well as Brooklyn — in conduct that can drive a team toward relenting and finally moving on from the talented guard," wrote Jake Fischer of Yahoo.

"If this saga does drag out through September and until Media Day on Oct. 2, Harden is expected at this point to report to training camp, according to league sources. You can cause far more headaches for the organization you’re trying to leave by showing up. [That is] as opposed to staying home. With both the Rockets and Nets, Harden made various trips away from the team for various nightlife activities. He made Brooklyn feel it had no other option but to trade him to the Sixers before the 2022 trade deadline. [That] or risk losing him for nothing. With Philadelphia, Harden’s side is very much of the belief joining the Clippers is not a matter of if, but when," Fischer continued.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.