While the postseason is still in full swing, the offseason is waiting just around the corner. One team that will have a busy offseason on its hands is the Philadelphia 76ers.
Daryl Morey pushed all in at the trade deadline and acquired James Harden in a mega-deal involving Ben Simmons. While adding the former MVP instantly put the Sixers into contender status, it did come with a risk.
Once this season comes to a close, Harden can either opt-in to his player option for next season or become an unrestricted free agent. Given his connection to Morey and what Philly gave up to acquire him, it’s fair to assume Harden will be a member of the Sixers for the foreseeable future.
Recently, the people over at Bleacher Report listed a ‘surprise’ landing for all the impending free agents this summer. In the article, Harden makes his way to the Miami Heat in the form of a sign-and-trade.
Sixers Opting For Depth
For starters, a deal of this sort seems highly unlikely. Even if the Sixers did want to part ways with Harden, Morey would not send him to an Eastern Conference. The only thing that makes any sense for Philly to do this is to stock up on depth pieces.
Even at this stage of his career, Harden is going to warrant a max contract. To make a sign-and-trade work, Miami would have to send back players like Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and more to make it work from a financial aspect.
Lowry is approaching the end of his career but still has something left to give an NBA team. He has championship experience and could be a mentor to Tyrese Maxey as he continues to grow. Adding Robinson would give the Sixers an outside threat they’ve missed since the departure of Seth Curry. Robinson is a lethal shooter off of movement and could be a great partner for Joel Embiid in the dribble hand-off.
Right now, lack of depth is greatly hurting the Sixers. If they believe in Maxey and Tobias Harris next to Embiid, bolstering the supporting cast could be an alternative route if they don’t want to pay up for Harden.
Sixers Should Be In No Rush To Trade James Harden
No matter what happens with the Sixers in the playoffs, moving on from James Harden should not be an option this summer. After what was given up to get him to Philly, dealing him away after 24 regular season games would be senseless.
There’s no denying there have been ups and downs since his arrival, but there have still been promising flashes. When Harden and Embiid are clicking on the court, they are a near impossible duo to defend. Morey should be in no rush to split up the pair of All-Stars.
He might not be the scorer he once was, but Harden is still more than capable of elevating whatever team he is on. His playmaking and basketball IQ have done wonders for the Sixers since his debut. More importantly, it’s opened the door for Maxey to showcase his scoring punch on a nightly basis.
Seeing how this group has made it work thus far, there is no telling what the ceiling could be after they get a full offseason and training camp together.