How does the Damian Lillard trade affect James Harden?

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, but how does thaty impact James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers?

Portland Trail Blazers v Philadelphia 76ers
Portland Trail Blazers v Philadelphia 76ers / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team trade involving the Phoenix Suns. DeAndre Ayton and Jrue Holiday, two more stars involved in this deal, will head to Portland. The full trade details are below.

Actual Lillard Bucks trade

The Suns received Jusuf Nurkic and depth pieces, including Grayson Allen and Nassir Little. For Portland, such a trade was a way to part with Lillard while remaining somewhat competitive and stocking picks for the future.

With one major trade domino down, could another soon follow? The NBA world was seemingly waiting for Lillard to be dealt, and now the likes of a James Harden trade could soon follow.

Harden, who has had beef with Daryl Morey all offseason long -- including calling him a liar on at least one occasion -- wants out of Philadelphia. The most likely match is the Los Angeles Clippers.

What does a Damian Lillard trade mean for James Harden?

Both Lillard and Harden have excessive contracts, but any trade for the latter would likely have to include a new max deal, which the 34-year-old covets. However, Harden has taken a rather obvious step back in recent years, exiting his prime at an alarming rate.

Harden is not the player he once was, but he will cost quite a bit, both in actual financial capital and in trade assets. If the Lillard deal was any indication, it's that these sorts of trades which involve near-contending teams hoping to improve to championship status, are expensive. Harden to Los Angeles, for example, would cost significant assets. Morey and the 76ers have proven they are willing to wait out star players in the past, such as Ben Simmons.

Miami could emerge as a trade option for Harden, but he would likely cost them what they would have paid for a superior player in Lillard. No, the Clippers remain the most obvious destination. A three-team trade would help matters, but two possible third teams in Phoenix and Toronto nwo may be out. The Suns just trade Ayton, and the Raptors backed out because of the expense. If Harden is of a similar asking price, then why get involved at all?

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