James Harden’s surprising decision to opt into his $36 million player option for next season signaled the end of his time with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Heading into the NBA offseason it seemed likely that Philly and Harden would ultimately come to terms on a long-term deal of some sort.
However, as free agency loomed this week, it became increasingly apparent that the two sides were on very different pages.
The Sixers, it would appear, didn’t view Harden as a piece they could rely on long-term. When they made it clear that they would pay him accordingly, he decided his best course of option was to opt-in and then be dealt.
Over the past 24 hours, Philadelphia’s asking price for Harden has emerged – and the Los Angeles Clippers seem to be in the best position to pay it.
How does the team’s biggest star, Kawhi Leonard, feel about this prospective move?
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Leonard has offered his two cents on the possibility of adding Harden.
“While it seems likely that he’ll land with the Clippers, it remains to be seen whether his longtime basketball partner, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, will grant this unexpected wish,” Amick wrote.
“Sources say, however, that there is strong optimism on Harden’s side that it will indeed happen. Both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are said to be on board with the idea of Harden potentially joining their core, according to sources.”
Leonard has been busy partying it up this week and commemorating his birthday, but obviously he found this matter important enough to carve out a little time to weigh in.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/burvMsRi33
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 1, 2023
Whether the Clippers and 76ers will ultimately be able to get something done remains to be seen, but on paper this could be a win-win for all sides.
Will Harden be in Los Angeles come the beginning of the 2023-24 NBA season? An answer one way or the other will emerge soon enough.