James Harden reportedly still hopes to be traded to Clippers

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2023 NBA Playoffs- Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics

2023 NBA Playoffs- Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics

Unlike the Damian Lillard situation, which appears to be moving toward a conclusion in the coming days, the last time we got a real update on a trade for James Harden the Los Angeles Clippers pulled out of the talks. Since then, it has just been Harden and Daryl Morey sniping at each other.

Despite that, Harden still hopes to be traded to the Clippers, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.

…the ongoing dynamic in Philadelphia, where James Harden still hopes to be moved to the LA Clippers, sources said…

Philadelphia staffers, meanwhile, can still talk themselves into the idea of Harden reporting to camp, playing for a title hopeful and, therefore, playing his way into the trade value the Sixers require to relinquish the All-Star. How realistic is that? Well, Harden has already claimed that he’ll never be part of an organization that Philadelphia president Daryl Morey is a part of. There are more fireworks coming with the Sixers, whether at their Camden, New Jersey, practice facility or when the team briefly relocates to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for training camp.

Harden wants to go to Los Angeles partly because he believes Steve Ballmer’s Clippers are one team willing to pay him big money next summer, league sources have told NBC Sports. Also factoring in is the belief he could win there with this roster, and it’s Los Angeles (a friendly, warm-weather city).

The Clippers are only interested in acquiring Harden on their terms. This season they are running it back with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and while Harden would fit well on the court with that duo (and historically is more durable), the Clippers are not trading away much to take this one (final?) swing with this core. Morey reportedly is seeking multiple first-round picks, a player who can help them remain a contender and does not want to take on long-term salary. That’s a tough sell in the best of circumstances.

Los Angeles has no incentive to increase its lowball offer — reportedly some veteran matching salaries such as Robert Covington and Marcus Morris, plus a couple of picks — because there are no other serious suitors for Harden. Other GMs around the league know Harden wants a big new deal next summer, they are watching him force his way off a third team in four years (Houston, Brooklyn, now Philadelphia) and they are not signing up to be the next chapter in that book.

Considering all that, Philadephia appears on the path to bring Harden back to camp and see what happens. The rest of the league — including the Clippers — is grabbing its popcorn and will sit back and watch the show.