After months of back-and-forth, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally trading their superstar guard, James Harden, to the LA Clippers. Another player-front office saga is over.
The trade is coming off an apparent falling out between Harden and Sixers President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey, who have had a close relationship since their time together with the Houston Rockets from 2012 to 2020.
Harden took a pay cut in the 2022 off-season with a promise of a new contract this year. Following a rough 2023 playoff exit, however, where the Sixers squandered a 3-2 series lead in the East Semis against their rival Boston Celtics, with Harden playing poorly, things got murky, and it’s anyone’s guess what really transpired. In any case, the 34-year-old star opted into his $35.6 player option in the off-season because Morey promised that he was going to be traded. That didn’t immediately happen, and the situation escalated into intense heights..
As you may remember, this past August, while at his annual tour in China, Harden publicly lashed out on his team exec and supposed friend:
This has been the fourth time that Harden has been traded in his career, and third since 2021 (Houston to Brooklyn in January 2021, Brooklyn to Philadelphia in February 2022, and Philadelphia to LA now, October 2023). All that moving is rare for a player in his caliber, moreso for a former MVP:
Nevertheless, Harden got his wish… yet again. He’s now in his hometown, too.
The Clippers appear to have struck a great deal as they didn’t need to unload Terrence Mann, Norm Powell, Russell Westbrook, or Ivica Zubac. All were rumored to be sought after by Philly or a third and/or fourth team, especially Mann as he is deemed to be a valuable asset.
As seen in the news above, the Sixers will only get back a bunch of role players, draft picks, and pick swaps. None are surefire rotation guys, at least for now.
The Clipps could be deemed a super team as they are now parading Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, plus Westbrook and Harden. There’s a boatload of All-NBA, All–Star, and other individual accolades between them, and a potentially huge supply of offense. The second reunion between Harden and Westbrook, who were teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, will be a bit strange considering their pairing in Houston didn’t end well, but they’re in different stages of their careers now, so who knows?
As for the 76ers, all eyes will be on reigning MVP Joel Embiid. Whether he has the patience to still grind it out in Philly moving forward is a question mark. His best teammate is rising star Tyrese Maxey, and while the kid can truly play and has enormous potential to be a true star, there’s massive pressure on Embiid to win now, and he may not have time to wait for long.
Embiid is in contract for the next four season, with a player option in 2026-27, but no one should be shocked if he requests a trade soon.
Let’s close this one out with this thread on the Sixers subreddit. It’s a sad timeline that may get even sadder:
A timeline of the Process:
May 26, 2012: The Jrue Holiday/Andre Iguodala led 76ers lose to the KG/Pierce/Allen/Rondo Celtics in Game 7 of the ECSF
August 10, 2012: 76ers trade Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson
April 18, 2013: 76ers fire HC Doug Collins after a 34-48 season
May 10, 2013: 76ers hire Sam Hinkie as GM and President of Basketball Operations
August 12, 2013: 76ers hire Brett Brown as HC
June 27, 2013:
- 76ers select Michael Carter-Williams #11 overall
- 76ers trade Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first round pick
June 26, 2014: 76ers select Joel Embiid #3 overall and Jerami Grant #39 overall after a 19-63 season
February 19, 2015: 76ers trade ROTY Michael Carter Williams to Bucks for a Lakers first round pick
June 25, 2015: 76ers select Jahlil Okafor #3 overall after a 18-64 season
July 1, 2015: 76ers trade rights of overseas players to Kings for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, an unprotected first round pick, and 2 pick swaps (salary dump by Sacramento)
July 31, 2015: 76ers trade Jason Thompson to Warriors for Gerald Wallace + 2016 pick swap
December 7, 2015: Jerry Colangelo is “hired” as a special adviser to Chairman of Basketball Operations
April 6, 2016: Sam Hinkie steps down as GM and President of Basketball Operations
April 10, 2016: Brian Colangelo is “hired” as GM and President of Basketball Operations
June 23, 2016: 76ers select Ben Simmons #1 overall after a 10-72 season
November 1, 2016: 76ers trade Jerami Grant to OKC for Ersan Ilyasova and a 2020 first round pick
June 19, 2017: 76ers trade #3 and #13 pick for #1 overall pick
June 22, 2017: 76ers draft Markelle Fultz #1 overall after a 28-54 season
May 9, 2018: The 76ers lose in Game 5 of the ECSF to a Celtics team led by a rookie Jayson Tatum and missing its 2 best players with injuries
June 7, 2018: Brian Colangelo resigns as GM and President of Basketball Operations after being caught using burner accounts to criticize his players, HC Brett Brown hired as temporary replacement
June 21, 2018: 76ers draft Mikal Bridges #10 overall and trade him to Suns for Zhaire Smith
September 18, 2018: Elton Brand promoted to GM
November 12, 2018: 76ers trade Jerryd Bayless, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and a 2022 second round pick for Jimmy Butler (and Justin Patton)
December 31, 2018: Jerry Colangelo steps down as special adviser
February 6, 2019: 76ers trade Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, 2020 first round pick, Detroit 2021 and 2023 second round picks for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanović, and Mike Scott
May 12, 2019: 76ers lose to the Raptors in Game 7 of the ECSF on a 4 bounce buzzerbeater by Kawhi Leonard
June 20, 2019: 76ers trade #24 and #33 pick for Matisse Thybulle
June 28, 2019: 76ers sign Al Horford to a 4 year/$109 million deal
June 30, 2019: 76ers re-sign Tobias Harris to a 5 year/$180 million deal
July 1, 2019: 76ers sign/trade Jimmy Butler to the Heat for Josh Richardson
July 15, 2019: 76ers extend Ben Simmons for a 5 year/$170 million deal
August 23, 2020: 76ers get swept by the Celtics in the First Round
August 24, 2020: 76ers fire HC Brett Brown
October 1, 2020: 76ers hire Doc Rivers as HC
October 28, 2020: 76ers hire Daryl Morey as President of Basketball Operations
November 18, 2020: 76ers draft Tyrese Maxey #21 overall
November 18, 2020:
- 76ers trade Josh Richardson and #36 overall pick for Seth Curry
- 76ers trade Al Horford, a 2025 protected first round pick and 2020 second round pick for Danny Green, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirer
June 7, 2021: The #1 seed 76ers lose Game 7 of the ECSF to the #5 seed Hawks, after blowing and 18 and 26 point lead in Games 4 and 5 respectively, and Ben Simmons passes up an open dunk in the 4th quarter and shoots 34% from the free throw line
October 22, 2021: Ben Simmons sits out the season opener (and as it turns out the rest of the season) for various reasons
February 10, 2022: 76ers trade Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, a 2022 and 2027 first round pick the Nets for James Harden (and Paul Millsap)
May 12, 2022: 76ers lose Game 6 of the ECSF to the Heat
June 23, 2022: 76ers trade Danny Green and #23 pick to Grizzlies for D’Anthony Melton
June 30, 2022
- 76ers sign PJ Tucker for 3 years/$33 million
- 76ers sign Daniel House for 2 years/$8.5 million
July 20, 2022: 76ers re-sign James Harden (who opted out of a $47 million option) for 2 years/$68 million with a player option for the second year
February 9, 2023: 76ers trade Matisse Thybulle and a 2023 second round pick to Portland for Jalen McDaniels and a 2029 second round pick
May 3, 2023: Joel Embiid wins League MVP
May 14, 2023: 76ers blow a 3-2 series lead, Jayson Tatum drops a Game 7 record 51 points, eliminating the 76ers for the 3rd time in 6 years
May 16, 2023: 76ers fire HC Doc Rivers
May 29, 2023: 76ers hire Nick Nurse as HC
June 29, 2023: James Harden opts in to his player option and requests to be traded from the 76ers
September 6, 2023: 76ers sign Danny Green for 1 year/$1.3 million
October 31, 2023:
- 76ers trade James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Filip Petrusev to Clippers for Marcus Morris, Nic Batum, Robert Covington, KJ Martin, a 2028 first round pick, 2 second round picks, a pick swap, and an additional first round pick from unknown team
- 76ers waive Danny Green