Prior to the start of training camp, James Harden indicated to the Rockets that he’d be open to a trade to the Sixers or possibly another contending team, sources tell Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Most previous reports suggested that Harden was singularly focused on being dealt to the Nets, though Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Philadelphia was also believed to be near the top of his wish list. The 76ers’ front office is, of course, being run by former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
According to MacMahon and Wojnarowski, once it became clear there was no traction in talks between Houston and the Nets, Harden expressed to the Rockets that he’d be open to a move to Philadelphia. The eight-time All-Star also signaled that there may be other teams that fit his criteria, sources tell ESPN. Harden is said to be seeking a home where he can realistically contend for a championship.
Of course, Harden still has two years remaining on his contract, plus a player option for 2022/23, and he doesn’t have the ability to veto a deal, so the Rockets are free to move him to any team. Still, ESPN’s duo notes that few teams have the pieces necessary to meet Houston’s current asking price — plus, clubs will be reluctant to give up a massive trade package for Harden if they’re not confident that he’ll be willing to stick around beyond 2022.
The Rockets haven’t adjusted their reported asking price for Harden, per MacMahon and Wojnarowski. That asking price is believed to include a young All-Star caliber player, plus several first-round picks and/or promising players on rookie contracts, sources tell ESPN.
The Sixers are one of the few teams that have the kind of young player who could appeal to Houston as the centerpiece of a package — Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have each made All-NBA teams and haven’t meshed perfectly in recent years. However, Morey has said he has no plans to break up that duo, and the 76ers and Rockets haven’t had any substantive talks about a Harden deal, sources tell MacMahon and Woj.
As of Monday, Harden had yet to report to the Rockets for training camp. We recapped the latest updates on his situation in a story earlier today.