NBA rumors: Timeline for James Harden trade revealed

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to proceed with patience after James Harden’s trade request. 

James Harden opted not to join the 2023 free agent class, instead opting into the final year of his contract in order to request a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers. Now Daryl Morey and the front office will work toward finding a resolution.

The when and what of that resolution are still up in the air. The Sixers should be able to find multiple teams interested in Harden. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers have surfaced as the former MVP’s preferred destination.

In a recent appearance on SportsCenter, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski clarified the timeline for Harden’s trade request and how the Sixers plan to move forward.

Philadelphia 76ers plan to operate patiently with James Harden trade request

"“But it’s different with James Harden; one year left on his deal. Wherever he’s traded, he’s on an expiring contract. You saw how Daryl Morey handled the Ben Simmons situation a couple of years ago. He waited him out, waited him out, tried to convince him to come back. Now, it never worked but what’s different with James Harden is there’s a relationship with Daryl Morey, with Tad Brown, the president who oversees the 76ers, from back with their time in Houston. That’s a different factor in this. And so far, teams who’ve talked to Philadelphia, the asking price is extremely high. That’s what you expect starting out with Daryl Morey. Again, I think this is a process that’s not going to get resolved quickly.” (h/t Bleacher Report)"

Of course the Sixers are willing to wait it out. Daryl Morey has a well-established track record of valuing stars. That’s why Philadelphia clung to Ben Simmons for so long after his trade request — to land a star like Harden. This is the inverse: Harden is a star, and the Sixers won’t move him unless the value is up to snuff with Harden’s value as a player.

Woj notably mentions Harden’s longstanding relationship with Morey and Sixers management. While there was never the potential for internal resolution with Simmons, Harden is different. There’s still a non-zero chance Harden doesn’t actually get traded. The Sixers would undoubtedly prefer to have Harden back if a beneficial trade doesn’t materialize and his friendship with Morey could facilitate that reconciliation.

If the Sixers do end up trading Harden, be prepared for a long wait. Harden’s value won’t get much lower than it is currently, especially with teams gearing up for the Damian Lillard pursuit. If the Sixers can swing a trade for Dame (or shoehorn Harden into a multi-team trade involving Dame), we could be waiting weeks, even months for Harden’s new home to be revealed.

The Clippers are interested in Harden, but the Sixers — not unlike the Blazers with Lillard — will be angling for the best possible deal. There has never been a more urgent need to build a contending roster around Joel Embiid, whose own future with the franchise will quickly come into question if the Harden trade goes south.

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