James Harden's unceremonious exit from Houston is still fresh in the minds of everyone in the NBA community. After nearly a decade of leading the Rockets to prosperity, he left them behind in favor of new opportunities in Brooklyn.
Now, there is talk of him changing scenes again -- this time, to Philadelphia. On Monday morning, The Athletic's Shams Charania shared the latest information on the future of the 9x All-Star.
With the NBA trade deadline just over two weeks away, rival teams interested in three-time All-Star Ben Simmons believe Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey has his sights set on a bigger target in the summertime: Brooklyn Nets star James Harden.
Multiple sources, including people with direct knowledge of the team’s thinking and also from rival teams involved on the Simmons front, tell The Athletic that the 76ers are believed to prefer to wait in order to pursue Harden or another superstar in the offseason and thus want to save Simmons for that potential sign-and-trade rather than take what’s available on the current market.
In Philadelphia, Daryl Morey's pursuit of a star has resulted in nothing but failure so far. After a disastrous season, Ben Simmon's trade value remains at an all-time low.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn has not shared any plans to break up their talented "big three," nor has Harden himself expressed a desire to bolt in free agency this summer. Still, the idea of a Harden/Embiid duo continues to gain steam and it has been revealed already that the Sixers will pursue him in July.
To make matters even more interesting, a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer confirms that Harden likes the idea of teaming up with star big man, Joel Embiid.
“Joel Embiid is the alpha dog for the Sixers, commanding the lion’s share of shots and serving as the focal point of the franchise, a dynamic that could make some ball-dominant players pursue an opportunity elsewhere. But sources said Harden would welcome playing with Embiid if he became a Sixer. The guard had a lot of individual success playing for Morey as a Rocket. Sources say Harden believes he could have similar success playing alongside Embiid.”
Harden, who turned 32 in August, has played with a dominant big man before. From 2013 to 2016 he was paired with Dwight Howard, who was coming off a respectable campaign in Los Angeles.
Sadly, their partnership would end in flames after several failed playoff runs.
While comparable in some aspects, Joel Embiid is certainly no Howard. His game is more well-rounded and his leadership is unquestioned.
Whether or not he would make things work with James Harden, however, is a matter that remains to be seen. As we've seen in the past, talent alone doesn't always reap success.