After hearing about the trade that will send his former backcourt partner James Harden to Los Angeles, Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey sent a message to the 10-time All-Star to thank him for everything he’s taught Maxey since they teamed up in 2022, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
“I texted him and I told him I love him, told him I appreciate him,” Maxey said. “One thing that he really installed in me is confidence. I’ve always been a confident person, but he made me be even more confident than I already was, and all I can do is appreciate him for that. He took me under his wing, taught me a lot of things as far as just being a professional in this league and how things go. So I appreciate him, and I love him. Same thing with Tuck (P.J. Tucker). Love those guys.”
While the trade with the Clippers will theoretically eliminate a “cloud of uncertainty” that had hung over the Sixers in recent months, Maxey believes the team had already been doing well in not letting the Harden saga become a distraction, per Bontemps.
“I think we’ve done a good job of keeping the main thing, the main thing, and I think that’s what’s gotten us all to a solid start,” Maxey said. “We have some really good guys that are focused, that are determined to go out there and play and, and show what we can do and, and coach that’s keeping our mind in the right place.”
Here are a few more notes on the Harden deal:
- The first week of the regular season couldn’t have gone much better for Maxey, as he embraced the lead guard role and was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week. Was his hot start the impetus for the Sixers to make their Harden move now? Dan Devine explores that topic in a column for Yahoo Sports.
- While Tucker obviously isn’t the headliner in this trade, he may be the sort of versatile frontcourt defender that head coach Tyronn Lue has been seeking behind starting center Ivica Zubac, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. As Fischer observes, Patrick Beverley has long been a favorite of the Clippers’ front office and Tucker should bring a similar brand of toughness to the team.
- What happens next for both the Clippers and Sixers will be crucial in determining whether the deal is a win, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who notes that Los Angeles now has several stars on potential expiring deals while Philadelphia will likely return to the trade market seeking another impact player. Hollinger also wonders if Russell Westbrook will assume a sixth man role for the Clippers rather than share the starting lineup with three ball-dominant players like Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George, and points out that the 76ers are a Furkan Korkmaz salary dump away from sneaking below the luxury tax line.
- A Monday phone call between Sixers owner Josh Harris and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer helped push the deal over the finish line, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (Twitter video link).
- Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports takes a look back at Harden’s tenure in Philadelphia, writing that the way it ended should come as no surprise.