James Harden’s time with Daryl Morey in Philadelphia is over. As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers agreed to trade Harden to the LA Clippers early Tuesday morning. The deal was officially announced on Wednesday.
• Nicolas Batum
• Marcus Morris
• Robert Covington
• KJ Martin
• Multiple draft picks
• James Harden
• P.J. Tucker
• Filip Petrusev
thank you P.J., James and Filip. 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/2WLflIQHUO
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 1, 2023
How we got here: The 34-year-old Harden vowed he would never play for a franchise run by 76ers team president Daryl Morey, and the disgruntled guard had yet to play for the team this season. Harden had picked up his $35.6 million contract option in June with the belief the team would trade him. When a deal failed to immediately materialize, Harden’s relationship with the 76ers ultimately soured.
“It’s not even about this situation. This is life,” Harden told reporters weeks ago. “When you lose trust in someone, it’s like a marriage. When you lose trust in someone, you know what I mean? It’s pretty simple.”
Harden’s departure marks the latest development in the 76ers’ attempts to surround reigning Kia MVP Joel Embiid with adequate and willing talent to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2001. The Sixers acquired Harden in 2022 in exchange for a similarly discontent former All-Star in Ben Simmons.
What this means: Harden, who told the 76ers that the Clippers were his preferred team from the moment he issued his offseason trade demand, now joins a loaded roster intent on making a title push. A 10-time All-Star and the league’s reigning assists champion, he joins Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook — Harden’s former teammate in Oklahoma City and Houston — in a veteran lineup that now make the Clippers a heavy betting favorite to win the NBA championship.
Injuries to Leonard and George, as well as the need for another floor-setting guard alongside them, produced the Clippers’ desire to bring Harden to L.A. The franchise is hoping to, at worst, match its team-record Western Conference finals run from 2021 before moving to a new arena in Inglewood for 2024-25.
As for Philadelphia, it will now fully turn to 22-year-old guard Tyrese Maxey to serve as the No. 2 talent Philadelphia needs next to Embiid. Maxey is averaging 30.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists through the first three games of the season.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.