NBA Rumors: Clippers shut down James Harden trade talks
The Los Angeles Clippers are out of the James Harden sweepstakes for now, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. The Clippers "tried to trade for Harden," but ultimately shut off conversations with the Philadelphia 76ers after no adequate deals materialized. This comes after weeks of rumors suggesting a pervasive hesitance from LA to meet Daryl Morey's high asking price.
This is a tricky spot for all parties involved. The Clippers are running out of time to make something of the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era. Harden's price may be high in Morey's eyes, but it's not high relative to his on-court value. Harden was a top-20 NBA player last season, averaging 21.0 points and 10.7 assists on 60.7 TS%. This was a prime opportunity for the Clippers to swoop in and add a game-changing star for pennies on the dollar.
As for the Sixers, it's looking less and less likely that Harden gets dealt before training camp commences in early October. That's just fine by Morey, but Harden has stated his desire to leave rather unambiguously and the Sixers can't afford another messy camp. Nick Nurse is tasked with resetting the culture and building a winner. It's hard to keep your head above water if James Harden is intentionally poking holes in the raft.
Then there's Harden, who named the Clippers and only the Clippers as his desired destination. After his free agent market collapsed and no long-term offers came his way, Harden opted into the final year of his contract with hopes of forcing a trade and earning a payday with his new team. Well, even his handpicked ideal landing spot doesn't want him bad enough to make a real offer. The market is barren, and Harden may have misjudged his value in league circles. Can he afford a messy holdout situation with money on the line in his age-34 season? Probably not.
This is a complete fiasco. We shall see how it all goes down in a few weeks.