Wondering where James Harden might be headed next has become annual news. It was supposed to continue this year, until the LA Clippers became reasonably desperate. They were in a bit of a panic as Paul George wasn’t budging in the negotiations and will leave them for nothing, which he eventually did, so off they went and offered The Beard a two-year, $70M deal.

All things considered, it’s still a testament as to how good the Clippers front office is. They were quick on their feet and immediately did what they were supposed to do. Losing another star will be yet another blow to the franchise since the team is moving into a new arena.


Here’s what’s truly commendable, though: the FO had Harden accept a deal that was similar to his previous salary (2 yrs, $68.6M) and lower than what the Philadelphia 76ers offered last year, which was the reason he wanted out of Philly in the first place, and caused the fallout with supposed longtime friend Daryl Morey (the GM in HOU and PHI), who he called a “liar,” in a now-infamous clip

But, what now? Can we still expect Harden to be reliable?

While sharing the floor with George and Kawhi Leonard, Harden understandably posted numbers that aren’t up-to-par with his usual self – his 16.2 points and 34.8 minutes per game this past season, for one, were both his lowest since 2011. 

Then again, we also can’t deny that it’s most probably a product of already being in his mid-30s (35) and having stepped out of his prime years. He also shot just 42.8% from the floor, his worst since his rookie year.

Further, note that he has jumped ship thrice in the last four years, and it always got contentious. So, to summarize: not only is he steadily moving away from his elite offensive repertoire, he’s also consistent in disengaging and complaining to the FO when things aren’t going well? Who’s to say it won’t happen again?

That’s not all too. He is yet to escape the dark cloud of being a juggernaut in the regular season and a perennial underperformer in the playoffs. He did it time and again with the Houston Rockets, and repeated it at every turn in his stops with the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and recently, the Clippers.

Above is a video from 2022, and Harden added more to that ugly list in the last two years. 

Last year while with the Sixers, during Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals showdown with the Boston Celtics, he classically disappeared and went for a woeful nine points on 3-of-11 shooting across 40 minutes. 

Then, this year in the first-round series vs. the Dallas Mavericks, when the Clipps were looking for someone to step up as Kawhi Leonard went down with an injury, he virtually evaporated again, scoring just 11.5 PPG on 25% shooting (7/28 FGs, 1/13 from 3) in Games 4 and 5.

The only “good” thing now is every season can be different, and James may mesh better with Leonard and the whole Clippers with a second ball- dominant teammate gone. Head coach Tyronn Lue may be able to let him run freely than ever. Clipps fans still shouldn’t be excited, but we’ll soon see.