The entire internet was a flutter yesterday when The Athletic’s Sham Charnia dropped a “Sham Wow” (his version of a Woj Bomb….its a working title). That with Daryl Morey as President of basketball operations the team would go after Rockets star James Harden.
Now I’ll admit, the idea of Harden doing this…
IN A SIXERS UNIFORM?! Thats enough to make me forget Raul Neto getting playoff run for a team that claimed to be “built for 16.”
But does a deal honestly make sense?
Everyone loves the hypothetical trade call that you for sure have heard on our airwaves. They usually go something like this
“Lets go to Tony on the Fanatic”
“I think we should trade Al Horford. You think we can package him and a 2nd round pick for Damian Lillard?”
We often forget that there are two teams involved in a trade. And unless you catch the other GM on a bender, usually you dont get away with highway robbery like the above trade suggested. To make matters tougher for the Sixers, were not even sure whos running the Rockets. Morey left them high and dry. So who exactly is Morey calling?
We have it in our head that because Daryl Morey maneuvered a trade back in 2012 for Harden where he gave up virtually nothing (Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, and 2 1st round picks) that he can do it again. I will remind everyone that “The Beard” WASNT “The Beard” when that trade was pulled off. He was a former 3rd overall pick who hadn’t really lived up to the draft pick. He was coming off a season averaging 16 points per game and was doing so primarily coming off the bench, only starting 2 games in his last season with the Rockets. He gets traded, starts all 78 games he played in, and saw his points per game go from 16.8 to 25.9. “The Beard” was born
So dont think that a trade of 2 scrubs and 2 mid 1st rounders is going to get it done. It wont. The other thing you have to consider is the Rockets just bought a year ago. They pulled off another deal with OKC, this time for Russell Westbrook. It didnt work out, Mike D’Antoni was fired. But would they seriously blow it up? Hard to imagine.
But lets head to the NBA trade machine! Everyone wants to get rid of Al Hordford. I totally get it. He was signed in a total facelift offseason and its a move that hasn’t panned out. So lets start there.
SWEET! James Harden for Josh Richardson, Al Hordford and a 1st round pick! Who says no?!
Well the Rockets probably. Thats a trade that gets you fired. Could the Rockets use a big man? Yes. Am I to believe that Al Horford lost all his talents because the “Monstars” came down and stole it for Space Jam 2? No. But the Sixers dangling Horford out there is like you trying to sell JJ Arcega-Whiteside jerseys. Timing is everything. IF the Sixers are to move Horford they would likely do so to get rid of the contract, and the team taking on the contract would likely be doing so to acquire a pick to take the bad contract (think the Nik Stauskas trade to the Sixers during the Hinkie era.)
Ok well lets try another one….
Ok so this one might be a little more plausible. Josh Harden for Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson. Throw in picks because I dont think thats enough and maybe. But Harris is like Horford. He’s coming off a down year and his value probably isn’t where it was when the Sixers traded for him. He’s the highest paid player on the team but he didnt exactly scream “MAX PLAYER” last season. If Harden were to force Houston’s hand, maybe. But still seems unlikely.
Ok final one…
OH NO! THIS TRADE DIDN’T WORK! Well that trade offer is dead I gue-
NOT SO FAST!
Ben Simmons extension kicks in next year and it comes with a $33 million dollar cap hit. So Harden for Simmons straight up once the new league year begins would work.
But do the Sixers really want to trade Ben Simmons, who is 7 years younger than Harden? Would the Sixers want to move Simmons, one of the best defenders in the league, for Harden who is…not one of the best defenders in the league. In 2k Harden and Embiid is an unbeatable combination. But in real life its very possible that defenders would blow past Harden, drive the lane, and get Embiid into foul trouble (Credit to Bob Cooney for that interesting observation)
The other thing we have to consider is Doc Rivers. I know I want to see this team work with Doc Rivers. That includes Ben Simmons. Ben seemed to run all over Brett Brown. Treating him like kids do when a substitute teacher strolls into the room. “YEA YEA YEA WE AINT HERE TO LEARN TODAY! ROLL IN THAT TV AND POP IN 3 NINJAS BABY GIRL.” You knew which teachers you could walk all over and you knew which ones you had to tighten up for. Doc Rivers is one that garners respect. He took this job for a reason, and I’m sure Ben Simmons was one of the big reasons.
At the end of the day this is a lot to do about nothing. Think about what Shams reported. “Philadelphia is expected to be interested in…”
So they’re EXPECTED….to be INTERESTED IN…
That’s like saying “I’m probably going to want Pizza for dinner.” But to make it sound more official; “Pat is expected to be interested in, and pursue Alex’s Pizza for dinner on Friday.”
Of course the Sixers would have interest in James Harden! THEY HAVE NO GUARDS! They’re probably interested in a lot of players who can take that orange globe and put it in the peach bucket. But it takes two to tango.
I am very interested in Margot Robbie. I can even pursue Margot Robbie. But I’m fairly certain that my offer of a free meal at Applebees, and a future Disney+ login isn’t going to get it done. She wont give me the time of day (unfortunately.)
So while its fun to think about the idea of James Harden in a Sixers uniform, its not going to happen anytime soon. And I would love to send this to be featured on Freezing Cold Takes in a few weeks, or months. As long as Ben Simmons isn’t in the deal.