Trade Rumors: Harden, Lillard, Knicks, George

Appearing on SportsCenter on Tuesday (Twitter video link), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that the Sixers may take the same approach to James Harden‘s trade request that they did to Ben Simmons‘ in 2021. In other words, the team will exercise patience waiting for the right deal to materialize, hoping in the meantime that its star guard will eventually have a change of heart about his desire to leave Philadelphia.

“If it was up to the Sixers, they would get James Harden enthusiastic about playing next season with the Sixers,” Wojnarowski said. “… The Sixers have been talking to teams about trades for James Harden (but) their asking price is really high.”

As Wojarowski points out, Harden has a better relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey than Simmons did with the team leaders in Philadelphia. However, the 76ers’ apparent unwillingness to put a lucrative, long-term contract offer on the table for Harden has created some discontent.

“There’s a lot of work that’s gotta be done with Harden before he’s really enthusiastic about a return there,” Wojnarowski said.

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Unlike the 76ers with Harden, the Trail Blazers are under no illusions that they’ll be able to convince Damian Lillard to continue his career in Portland, Wojnarowski said during an NBA Today appearance on Wednesday (YouTube link). “I think both sides realize that this is over,” Wojnarowski said. “This is not a situation necessarily where the Blazers are trying to talk Damian Lillard back in.”
  • ESPN’s Tim Bontemps said on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday that he’s not expecting the Lillard situation to be resolved in the short-term future, noting that the Trail Blazers will want to take plenty of time to sort through all their options and get the best possible return. “I think we’re in for a bit of a wait,” Bontemps said (YouTube link). “That’s because we are on Portland Trail Blazers time.”
  • The Knicks‘ offseason feels somewhat incomplete, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, who suggests the team could still have a move to make on the trade market. League sources tell Katz that the Knicks have contacted multiple teams this summer in search of a veteran in his prime who would fit the current roster.
  • While the Knicks may still have a trade up their sleeves, it doesn’t sound like it will be for Clippers forward Paul George. New York was linked to George earlier in the offseason, but Alan Hahn of ESPN Radio and MSG Network said on the Bart & Hahn podcast (Twitter audio link) that the Knicks deemed it too “expensive” to both acquire George and give him the extension he’s believed to be seeking.
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