The Los Angeles Clippers and James Harden appear to have mutual interest in linking up.
When the Philadelphia 76ers and Harden seemingly began inching towards a trade earlier this month, L.A. emerged as the likeliest landing spot for the former MVP’s services. Things got so serious that even Kawhi Leonard weighed in with his thoughts on the move.
That said, a roadblock has emerged.
The Clippers, it would appear, are reluctant to include two of their more sought-after players in any potential deal for Harden.
According to ESPN NBA insider Zach Lowe, Los Angeles wants to hold on to Terrence Mann and Norman Powell.
“The Clippers, from what I have heard, are reluctant to offer Mann, picks, maybe even Powell,” Lowe said.
“And I don’t know that the two sides have really even had super significant dialogue, and I don’t know what you do from there.”
If even the likes of Mann and Powell are off the table, it’s hard to see how a deal between L.A. and Philly gets done.
The Sixers won’t give Harden away for scraps, as evidenced by their handling of the Ben Simmons situation, so a trade is looking increasingly less likely now than it did just a week ago.
Obviously the Clippers have some understandable trepidations about trading for a 33-year-old who is clearly on the decline and has been on three teams since 2020.
It probably doesn’t help matters any that they look over at the Oklahoma City Thunder nowadays and see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander blossoming into a future MVP candidate, whereas they’re out here getting their Paul George trade offers rejected.
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That being said, Mann is no Gilgeous-Alexander. And if the organization is truly trying to maximize what’s left of Leonard’s and George’s remaining contracts, it’s hard to see how they don’t go all-in on a Harden trade.
Will the Clippers ultimately go back to the negotiating table and give up Mann and Powell for Harden when it’s all said and done? Time will tell.