Teams Sound Really Worried About James Harden Going To Sixers

James Harden, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Philadelphia 76ers came close to acquiring former NBA MVP James Harden shortly after President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey took over. Ultimately, Harden landed with the Brooklyn Nets to form a superstar trio with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Fast forward to today, the 76ers have an ongoing standoff with Ben Simmons that does not appear to be trending toward an end. Philadelphia still is eyeing a talent like Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jaylen Brown, or, of course, James Harden, in exchange for Simmons.

There’s been growing speculation about James Harden landing with the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason. The method of doing so would require declining his $47.4 million player option to then be involved in a sign-and-trade deal that likely would involve Simmons and other pieces being on the move.

For what it’s worth, Harden has since publicly denied the reports that he’s frustrated with playing in Brooklyn—stating he has ‘no idea’ what the reporter was talking about.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Could Sixers Actually Pull Off James Harden Acquisition?

During a recent episode of Posted Up with Chris Haynes, the dynamic with James Harden’s friendship with Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin has caused the owner of a rival team and rival front office executives to feel as though there’s conversations already happening.

“Usually when there’s smoke, there’s fire. There’s another player we’re going to add to this dynamic. Michael Rubin, for those who don’t know, the Sixers co-owner – very, very, very good friends with James Harden. I’m talking to a rival owner, talking to rival front office executives who believe that there could be some talk going on now between both sides.

There’s a lot to like about the idea of Harden landing with the Philadelphia 76ers to team up with Joel Embiid, if both players are willing to do what it takes to be a cohesive match. Harden would need to become more willing to play off the ball and be a more active slasher while Embiid is posting up.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Could Sixers Actually Pull Off James Harden Acquisition?

As for Embiid, he would need to be willing to roll hard to the rim throughout the course of a full game to maximize the ball screen opportunities the tandem would receive together. Harden has thrived with lob threats as his bigs like Clint Capela and Dwight Howard. While that would take a toll on Embiid, rolling hard and finishing on a deep catch is more impactful than short-rolling for an elbow touch over and over.

In a perfect situation, the Philadelphia 76ers would have an elite threat to attack both ends of the switch with James Harden attacking a big and Joel Embiid handling a smaller player down low. Both players could connect nicely in pick-and-roll and dribble handoffs as fulcrums of the half-court offense.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Could Sixers Actually Pull Off James Harden Acquisition?

The Brooklyn Nets would be a depleted threat with Kevin Durant being the only one of their three superstars signed to a contract extension. While Kyrie Irving could certainly re-sign, they pulled an offer for him before the 2021-22 season began. There’s also no guarantee he is allowed to be a full-time player in 2022-23, either.

About Grant Afseth 1135 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.