The James Harden trade rumor mill continues to churn, as we get closer and closer to the start of the NBA season. While the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have been the major focuses to this point, Shams Charania brought up a few other teams that the star shooting guard is reportedly interested in.
“Sources: James Harden now has the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat among his preferred trade destinations, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets,” Charania tweeted this morning. Of course, with Harden under contract through at least 2021-22 before a player option, the Rockets will need to get a major trade haul to give the former MVP up.
The Heat are an interesting option. The team is often viewed as one of the destination teams that can draw star players. Pat Riley may have more confidence than most other team executives that he could get Harden to stay long term. They also have young potential trade assets like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, who the Rockets would almost definitely demand in return. The are reports that the two teams have discussed a deal, but Herro is a hangup for Miami.
A few weeks ago, it looked like Harden may actually force his way to the Brooklyn Nets. Now, that doesn’t look like a very likely option. Per Charania, unless the Nets include one of their two current superstars—Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving—in the deal, it is a no-go for Houston. That is obviously a deal breaker.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 10, 2020
The rumored Nets deals include impressive young players like Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie, but no one on the superstar level of a Ben Simmons from the 76ers or even Adebayo from the Heat.
In a bubble, most would probably do a Kyrie Irving for James Harden trade, but they’d definitely need to get sign-off from Durant. He and Harden played together with the Oklahoma City Thunder and reportedly have a good relationship, but Durant signed in Brooklyn to play with Kyrie. Dealing him before they have a chance to see what they have would run the risk of alienating one of the NBA’s best players, and put first year head coach Steve Nash in a very sticky situation.
Over the last few years, superstars like James Harden have gotten their way when demanding trades. Right now, it sounds like the Rockets have more leverage than the average team, and won’t be giving him away for less than a blockbuster return.
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