Woj: Clippers “Pausing” Pursuit Of James Harden

With their season tipping off on Wednesday night, the Clippers have decided to pause their pursuit of Sixers guard James Harden, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on NBA Countdown (Twitter video link).

I’m told that with the start of the season now, at least for the foreseeable future, the Clippers are stepping back from these trade talks about James Harden — they are essentially pausing them,” Wojnarowski said.

They have talked with Philadelphia for months about a trade,” Woj continued. “They’ve made their best offer for Harden, and they are now gonna start their season and see what this team looks like with a healthy Kawhi Leonard, a healthy Paul George.

Now, the Clippers may revisit this at some point. But they know they’re the only bidder for James Harden. They’re the only team that’s made a serious offer. They don’t want to bid against themselves. … I think the Sixers have to wonder, ‘Have we already gotten the best offer we’re gonna get for James Harden?’ Especially as the games start to peel off the calendar. And if you’re the Clippers, why offer more when there are fewer and fewer games that James Harden can play for you?

Harden, who asked the Sixers to trade him to L.A in June when he picked up his $35.64MM player option for the 2023/24 season, has expressed frustration with the slow pace of the negotiations multiple times in the months since then.

Back in August, he referred to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey as a “liar” during a promotional event, later explaining to the NBA when the league investigated those comments that the club hadn’t delivered on its assurances that it would trade him “quickly.”

The former league MVP and reigning assists per game leader skipped media day and the first day of training camp before reporting to the 76ers this fall. After spending nearly two weeks away from the team, he departed last Sunday without an excused absence. However, Philadelphia later said Harden was away due to a personal matter, and there has been no indication that the club fined him for missing practices or its final preseason game.

As Wojnarowski reported this morning, Harden has returned to Philadelphia and is back with the Sixers. Various reports indicated that the 34-year-old will need to ramp up his activity before making his season debut, however, which is why he’ll be absent for Thursday’s season opener in Milwaukee.

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported last week that the Clippers have offered two protected first-round picks for Harden, but the Sixers want Terance Mann, an unprotected first-rounder and a first-round pick swap, and the Clippers have no interest in trading Mann.

According to Wojnarowski, it seems Harden’s standoff with the Sixers will continue into the season.

View Comments (26)