The Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a trade overnight that will send James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the deal will include the Sixers sending Harden, P.J. Tucker, and Filip Petrusev to the Clippers for Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and an additional first-round pick that will be routed from a third team. The Sixers are also waiving Danny Green to clear roster space, per Woj.
The Clippers entered Monday with +1700 odds to win the NBA title, which was, coincidentally enough, tied with the Sixers for seventh best at DraftKings Sportsbook. Following the trade, the Clippers are now +1200 and tied with the Warriors for fifth-best behind the Celtics, Bucks, Nuggets, and Suns. The Sixers are now +1800 to win the title.
Harden joined the Sixers in February 2022 after the Brooklyn Nets dealt him ahead of the trade deadline. He spent the rest of the 2021-22 season and all of the 2022-23 season playing for Philadelphia before things started to get ugly. He exercised his player option to remain with the team but then demanded a trade.
During an offseason tour of China, Harden called Sixers president Daryl Morey a liar and said he would never be part of any organization that included Morey at the helm. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne is reporting Harden is “ecstatic” to be going to LA and could be in attendance for the team’s Tuesday home game against the Orlando Magic.
Four teams in the last 22 months is unheard of for a player of Harden’s caliber. This is the third time Harden and Russell Westbrook have been on a team together – another mind-blowing stat in all this player movement. The Clippers have to worry about having Harden, Kawali Leonard, and Paul George on the floor together. Except for the 2021 season that Leonard missed due to an ACL tear, he has only played an average of 50+ games a season while in LA. George has missed around 32 games a season during his Clipper stint. While
Harden might give the team a needed kick in the likely event the other stars are out, let’s not forget the guard has been dealing with his injuries while with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. The Clippers wanted to keep Terance Mann and do so, which is a win. They also get PJ Tucker, who can guard big men like Denver’s Nikola Jokic, where their other bigs might not be able to be as effective. It’s a high-risk/high-reward move where you’re asking a lot of health to break your way.
For the Sixers, the keys have been handed to guard Tyrone Maxey, averaging 30 points a game so far this season. This trade gives some flexibility in the upcoming off-season to add a third star with a potential $50-$60 million in cap space. Could they add a player such as a potential Toronto Raptors forward free agent, Pascal Siakam? That remains to be seen. Watch the 2028 unprotected pick the Sixers got in the Harden deal. It could be possible the Sixers pair it with the expiring contract of Tobias Harris (who has been a lot of previous trade talk) to add some depth as well.