Eastern Notes: Harden, Wizards, Keefe, Bucks, Grimes

Daryl Morey‘s asking price for Sixers star James Harden so far has been “exorbitant,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during a Friday appearance on NBA Today (YouTube link). However, according to Wojnarowski, that’s not an uncommon starting point for Morey, who generally exercises patience when dealing with a high-profile trade candidate.

“That’s where Daryl Morey always starts in trade talks, really high,” Wojnarowski said. “And then over time, perhaps, you work him back down.”

Wojnarowski reiterates, as others have reported, that the Sixers seem to be holding out hope that Harden will reconsider his trade request and decide to remain in Philadelphia for the 2023/24 season. However, the former MVP has reportedly maintained his desire to be traded, so if he hasn’t been moved by the time training camps open in September, it may result in an unpleasant situation.

“They may get to training camp and it may look different to Philly,” Wojnarowski said. “They may have a James Harden who’s not as enthusiastic about his return as they are. And then maybe they get more serious about (trading him). But right now, I think the Harden talks – like (the Damian Lillard ones) – are going to linger into the summer.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Brian Keefe, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach in Brooklyn, is joining the Wizards‘ staff under Wes Unseld Jr., sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). As our tracker shows, Keefe was among the candidates to interview for Detroit’s head coaching job this spring.
  • In a conversation with Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, general manager Jon Horst discussed several Bucks-related topics, including how the club is navigating the second tax apron, Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s health, Bobby Portis‘ role on Team USA, MarJon Beauchamp‘s outlook, and more. Horst said that Antetokounmpo’s knee is “doing great” following a clean-up procedure in June.
  • Following the signing of Donte DiVincenzo, Zach Braziller of The New York Post wonders if Quentin Grimes – who started 66 games and averaged 29.9 MPG last season – will still play a significant role for the Knicks going forward or if he might become more valuable to the team as a trade chip in a deal that would help balance the roster and/or add an impact player.
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