There have been rumors upon rumors for months and Harden went from an initial destination list of two (BRK/PHI) to most contenders in both the East and the West.
The situation has only become more and more frustrating for Harden as the Rockets are now 14th in the Western Conference.
There was a time where the Rockets thought that the relationship was salvageable but as soon as that report broke, Harden went out of his way to quickly shut that down.
Harden’s frustrations finally boiled over after the Houston’s 117-100 loss to the LA Lakers.
“I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can.” Harden continued: “I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”
Not exactly words of encouragement for Rockets fans.
With the damage to the relationship seemingly beyond repair, the Rockets may have no choice but to grant Harden’s wish. A wish that may specifically mean a trade to the 76ers.
“The bottom line is James Harden wants out. He wants out by any means necessary. He wants to go to Philly from what I’m being told even more so than Brooklyn.”
It’s not shocking that Harden wants a trade to one of his initially desired destinations. What is interesting is that according to Smith, the Sixers seem to be the preferred destination. Woj even said that the Rockets are planning to keep Harden away until they can trade him.
The Sixers have so often been a bridesmaid and not a bride when it comes to superstars choosing teams so if this is true, it’s a nice change of pace.
What Would A James Harden Trade Look Like?
Now, the Rockets are asking for Maxey and Simmons, according to Marc Stein:
Many fans would love to trade Ben Simmons and wouldn’t even ask for a “James Harden” level player in return. While that idea is a bit extreme, the notion that Simmons is completely untouchable is not correct either.
Simmons may not be playing at the level many expected (thus lowering his trade value) but it’s not as though Harden’s value is at an all-time high. He is still James Harden and should be treated as such but his constant trade demands and other antics lower the price the tiniest of bits.
Ben Simmons is by far the best single asset the Rockets can receive in return. Any team would prefer Simmons over multiple picks in the later 20’s. Trading Harden for Simmons would allow the Rockets a quicker rebuild around an athlete they can cater their team to.
A one for one swap (or something very close) is an ideal trade for both teams and if Harden comes to Philly, it’s also his most likely path.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire