The Philadelphia 76ers want James Harden. It was something of an open secret heading into this week, but it became widely known on Friday.
As first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Philly is making a legit push to acquire Harden ahead of next week’s trade deadline. Moreover, due to Harden’s growing discontent with the team, the Brooklyn Nets are now open to working something out.
So is it a done deal? Are Ben Simmons and spare parts heading to New York in exchange for Harden? Not quite.
One roadblock has presented itself, and it remains to be seen whether it will be one all parties involved can figure out a way to circumvent.
According to CBS Sports NBA insider Michael Kaskey-Blomain, there is one player that the Sixers are refusing to include in any prospective Harden trade: Tyrese Maxey.
“The Sixers will not include Tyrese Maxey in any potential deals with the Nets for James Harden prior to the trade deadline, per a league source with team knowledge,” he wrote.
Maxey has been a stud for Philly with Simmons out. Over the past three games alone he has put up 18, 22 and 33 points. On the year he is averaging 16.9 points and 4.8 assists per game. He is young and undeniably talented – but is he really the sort of piece you throw away a Harden deal over?
Maybe. Don’t forget, the Miami Heat were confronted with a similar dilemma last year. There was one player they too refused to give up. History will ultimately judge that decision in a few years.
Big picture, it is increasingly feeling like Harden is not long for Brooklyn. This awkward exchange between him and Kyrie Irving during a recent game speaks for itself. Tensions are running high over there. This is a growingly unsustainable situation.
Oklahoma sorority girls decided to expose Caleb Williams after he transferred to USC. https://t.co/4t4pHwzoWm
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 5, 2022
Factor in the Sixers’ desire to unload Simmons and you seem to have the perfect recipe a trade, with both sides equally willing to get something done.
Will Maxey really be the reason that gets torpedoed? Time will tell.
Related: Auburn’s Bryan Harsin, Clesi Crochet Scrutinized Amid Affair Rumors