76ers trade disgruntled guard James Harden to Clippers: Report
James Harden got traded to the Clippers. The Sixers sent Harden, PJ Tucker and Filip Petrušev to Los Angeles for Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, an unprotected 2028 first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 draft pick and another first-round pick. pitcher from a third team, a person familiar with the trade told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the final details of the trade are not yet official.
Harden, who told the 76ers the Clippers were his favorite team from the moment he issued his trade demand in the offseason, now has a loaded roster aiming to make a title push. He joined Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook – Harden’s former teammate in Oklahoma City and Houston – in a veteran lineup that now makes the Clippers a you prefer heavy betting to win the NBA championship.
The 34-year-old Harden vowed that he would never play for a franchise run by 76ers team president Daryl Morey and the guard was still unhappy with playing for the team this season. Harden picked up his $35.6 million contract option in June with the expectation that the team would trade him. When a deal failed to materialize immediately, Harden’s relationship with the 76ers eventually took off.
The 10-time All-Star led the NBA in assists last season with 10.7 per game but it was Harden’s volatile offense that stymied the Sixers and helped them in the second round of the Eastern Conference loss to Boston.
Harden, acquired at the 2022 trade deadline from Brooklyn, is now off his fifth team.
Harden arrived late training camp and continued to practice with the 76ers until he was told to stay home for the teams’ first two road games following the trade demand. The only time he spoke at practice, Harden said that a A broken relationship with Morey could not be mended — comparing it to a broken marriage. Coach Nick Nurse said Harden would not play until he met certain conditioning requirements. Harden was scheduled to practice with the 76ers on Tuesday.
Instead, Harden is on his way to California.
The 76ers are off until Thursday’s home game against Toronto. The Clippers will play Tuesday night against Orlando. There was no immediate word on when all the traded players would be available for their new teams.
Harden and Westbrook joined Bob McAdoo as the only traded league MVPs four times in their career.
This might be the Clippers’ last chance to win a title with this group of All-Stars. Both Leonard and George are eligible for extensions and the Clippers will have to decide if the injury-prone duo is worth keeping together. Part of Harden’s complaint with the Sixers stemmed from the belief that he should have earned a long-term contract with the team after last season.
Harden dressed in street clothes and sat on the bench for Sunday’s home opener against Portland. NBA MVP Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey lead the 76ers to a 2-1 start as Morey dispatched Harden’s header.
Harden and the 76ers are no strangers to upsets. Harden’s incredibly successful tenure in Houston – when he first teamed up with Morey, then the general manager – included three scoring titles and the 2018 NBA MVP award. But his relationship with Houston eventually fell apart and he was forced on his way to Brooklyn in 2021. He joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and formed a Big 3 that was never very big. The trio was plagued by injuries and other controversies and played just 18 games together before Harden wanted out.
So it was off to Philly at the 2022 trade deadline, when he reunited with Morey and seemed comfortable in his role as a playmaker while the offense ran through Embiid. Harden even declined his $47.4 million option in June 2022, saying he wanted to give the 76ers financial flexibility to improve their roster and compete for a championship. He signed a deal worth just over $68 million, paying him about $33 million last season with a $35.6 million player option for this season.
Harden seemed determined to cut ties with the Sixers in August after he called Morey a liar at a promotional event in China.
“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization he is a part of,” Harden said at the event. “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization he is a part of.”
The 76ers get draft picks down the road but the short-term win — other than shaving themselves on The Beard — is a glut of salary cap space next season.
Although the Sixers failed to acquire leading guard Terance Mann in the deal, Batum, Covington (in his second stint with the 76ers), Martin and Morris have expiring contracts at the end of the season. That just leaves Embiid, Paul Reed and Jaden Springer as the only players on the books for 2024-2025. For now. The Sixers are expected to use some of the cap space to extend Maxey next summer.
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