So this offseason had been pretty lackluster while we wait for a start date for the 2020-21 season. Things got a little interesting on Tuesday afternoon when The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to show interest in trading for .... James Harden?! I mean, this sort of makes sense, right?
The Sixers just hired former Rockets GM Daryl Morey to be President of Basketball Ops. Their relationship is clearly strong and Doc Rivers is the new coach in Philly. Do the Sixers have what it takes to pull off such a blockbuster trade? Would the Rockets even consider it? Here’s what Shams has to say on the trade rumors:
Now, the video clearly states that Houston is not interested in dealing Harden. Of course, that’s what the Rockets should be saying but it may be in their best interest long-term. Stephen Silas was brought in to figure out what to do with Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Rockets have very few assets and a roster that likely won’t be able to compete for a title. Perhaps hitting the reset button for Houston would be the best course of action. The Sixers have some bad contracts to make the money match and can give up one of Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons in the process to acquire Harden.
There’s only one thing left to do now that the rumor is out there! TO ESPN’S TRADE MACHINE! (Queue the swirly Batman animation).
I’ve only tried a few scenarios, but if the Trade Machine is any indication, this deal would be very difficult to pull off. Both teams are pretty capped out and the salaries take a bit of work to make them match. Plus, it’s not all about salary. The Rockets would need to get some picks back and at least a few quality assets. If Simmons and/or Matisse Thybulle is involved, that would make some sense, but is it enough? Would Simmons work with Russ? You’d probably need a third team to get involved. The third team could effectively absorb one of the massive contracts the Sixers have (Al Horford or Tobias Harris). Most of the assets can go back to Houston and the third team can pick up a few first-rounders.