Daryl Morey finally executed the deal that Philadelphia 76ers fans knew would eventually come. The return package for James Harden from the Los Angeles Clippers included four players, four draft picks, a draft swap, and salary cap flexibility.
The Sixers also included P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev in the deal.
Evaluating The Return Package
Are the Sixers a better team than they were yesterday? It’s difficult to say. They lost a starter in Tucker and a relatively unknown piece in Petrusev. They also waived Danny Green for the roster flexibility to execute the deal.
Tucker averaged over 26 minutes in 11 postseason games for Philadelphia in 2023. He provided strong defense and physicality and veteran leadership. His offensive shortcomings diminished his value as a player, however, especially at age 38.
There’s no guarantee that the NBA players they acquired will even play for the 76ers let alone become key contributors. Expect to see some typical NBA salary cap gymnastics in the aftermath of this blockbuster deal.
What do the Clippers get? An aging former superstar who has been an unprofessional disruption to three different NBA teams since 2021.
Salary Cap Space and Future Flexibility
Bob Cooney spoke on The John Kincade Show about the return package for James Harden.
“None of this is helping them now. Are these things bundled together that maybe helps them get a player this year with all these assets? Maybe. Is there more to come. There probably has to be.” -Bob
There is no significant advantage on the court for the 2023-24 Sixers in the immediate aftermath of the trade. The Clippers ultimately used their leverage to keep Terance Mann, who was at the center of trade rumors throughout the offseason.
The value of the trade is about the long-term future of an organization.
“Could it help in the future? Yes. It frees up money. You could use all of these assets maybe to get a player with the money you have later this season or maybe sometime soon.” -Bob
Will the Sixers be aggressive in free agency in 2024? They have the cap space to do it if any big names are interested in playing in Philadelphia.
Will they pursue a trade in season? What does each of these assets mean?