Despite his trade demand, James Harden has shown up and participated during the last two days of Sixers training camp in Colorado. And although there were reports that The Beard would make the team “so uncomfortable” that they’d have to trade him, we have yet to see any fireworks — in fact, everything has seemed quite normal.
A report Thursday from The Athletic might’ve shed a little light as to why Harden has been playing nice while still wanting to be dealt to the Clippers.
Sam Amick and Shams Charania gave the most significant update on Sixers-Clippers negotiations yet. While Harden is showing up to camp to avoid fines, he’s also hoping his cooperation will lead to a trade to L.A.:
But beyond the money matters, league sources say Harden also is taking part because he remains hopeful that a trade to the Clippers is still in the works and believes, for now, that it would be wise to not be a distraction. And the Clippers, league sources say, are going to great lengths to make it happen.
League sources say the Clippers have been talking to several teams about ways to move pick swaps for additional draft capital with the intention of bolstering their offer and getting a deal done.
This is the first time it appears that the Clippers are motivated to get a deal done after pretty much no movement on that front all summer. In addition to that, we got a little more understanding of what Daryl Morey is asking for in return:
“The Clippers offered the Sixers an unprotected first-round pick, a pick swap and salaries for Harden in July, league sources say, but Philadelphia has set a much higher threshold. The Sixers have valued fifth-year forward Terance Mann and multiple first-round picks in a potential trade with the Clippers, sources added. Mann, who averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a season ago, has become a prospect of interest for teams over the past couple years.
If the Clippers are able to add to their offer in the kind of meaningful way that the two teams have previously discussed, then the next phase in this Harden saga will unfold from there and the ball, so to speak, would be in Morey’s court.”
OK, maybe some progress here!
Mann is a fine player, though his value seems to have been inflated by the Clippers’ side — especially considering he wasn’t even a rotation mainstay last year in his age-26 season. Still, he could fit the Sixers nicely as an athletic, sort of do-it-all guard with decent size at 6-foot-5.
Mann and two firsts plus filler seems like a fair ask for Harden when you consider the recent returns for Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday. It’s likely not a coincidence that L.A. seems to be upping their efforts to acquire Harden after both of those prominent guards were traded. There were reports that the Clippers pursued Holiday after he was dealt to Portland.
Earlier this summer a league source said that first-rounders from the Clippers weren’t considered as valuable around the league. It makes sense considering the team is in L.A., has an owner that is willing to spend big in Steve Ballmer and is in the process of building a state-of-the-art arena. That’s likely why a pick swap couldn’t get a deal done and why Morey is reportedly pushing for multiple firsts.
So, Harden still wants to be dealt, but is going to literally and figuratively play ball with the hope of being traded soon. Hopefully this report is the first sign of a potential deal getting done and a resolution to this whole mess.