NBA Rumors: 5 best trade destinations for James Harden to win championship

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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James Harden, Gary Trent Jr. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images
James Harden, Gary Trent Jr. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images /

James Harden has requested a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers. Which destinations would give him the best shot at winning that elusive NBA championship? 

With the free agent market not taking shape like James Harden thought it might, he decided to opt into the final year of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers — worth $35.6 million — and request a trade.

Now the Sixers will work on honoring Harden’s request. Harden has requested the Los Angeles Clippers specifically, but expect Daryl Morey to work to find the best trade available for the Sixers. He’s a notoriously shrewd negotiator and the Clippers aren’t exactly swimming in assets after the Paul George trade a few years ago.

For Philadelphia, the outcome of this trade could determine Joel Embiid’s future with the franchise. It’s of paramount importance to receive a package that can keep the Sixers in contention. Meanwhile, Harden has the same goal — he wants to win, and ideally build up his free agent market for next summer in the process.

Which trade destinations give Harden the best shot of capturing his first NBA title next season?

No. 5 James Harden trade destination: Toronto Raptors

There’s a moment in the 2022 film ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ in which a menacing space whaler with an Australian accent rattles off the phrase, “If you can’t get out of it, get into it.” The Raptors have made the ill-advised decision to run back last season’s No. 9 seed team without its only functional point guard. Strange choice, but fine. That’s where we are.

The Raptors desperately need a shake-up. Harden’s value is lower than normal for a player of his caliber. He has a lot of miles on his body, he’s 33 years old, and he only has one year left on his contract. But, if any team knows the potential upside of trading for stars in the final year of their contract, it’s Toronto.

Toronto still has a lot of winning players on their roster. Pascal Siakam was there for the title run in 2019. He has only gotten better since then, emerging as a bonafide top-30 player who can shoulder the lion’s share of Toronto’s offense. Getting him into pick-and-roll actions with Harden would pay dividends.

A general lack of perimeter shot creation was the Raptors’ Achilles heel last season. Harden is an instant solution. Not only can he still create his own shot, but he’s great at creating for others. Tyrese Maxey rocketed into the stratosphere as soon as Harden was setting the table for him in Philadelphia. Multiple Toronto players could benefit similarly from Harden’s presence.

Plus, the Sixers could get some of Nick Nurse’s former players to ease his transition to Philadelphia. Hopefully, the players who still like Nick Nurse.