1: Philadelphia Sixers
This is a total surprise, right? At the top of Daryl Morey’s offseason wishlist is Harden. The guard’s name is capitalized, bolded, and in size 72 font. Morey’s biding his time and hoping that his patience will pay off for Philadelphia this summer.
Morey’s asking price for Ben Simmons is insanely high and the probability that the Sixers will find a trade partner for the 2016 No. 1 pick is low.
The Kings were the most aggressive team in pursuit of Simmons but they ended trade talks last week because they “believe the asking price is too steep and that a pathway to a trade agreement with the Sixers doesn’t exist.”
That pertains to Harden because Philadelphia prefers to hold off until the offseason to execute a sign-and-trade deal with a big-name star. And guess who’s a big-name star?
The Sixers’ mantra is “trust the process.” Is that what Morey is doing? He made a push to trade for Harden before the guard was sent to Brooklyn as part of a four-team trade. However, with the deadline being around the corner, Philadelphia has yet to make the Nets an offer.
Without Simmons, Joel Embiid has propelled the Sixers to the No. 3 spot in the East, three places ahead of Brooklyn’s sixth-place ranking. If Harden were traded to Philadelphia within the next nine days, imagine what a Harden-Embiid duo would do. It wouldn’t hurt for Morey to at least make an offer.
The Sixers and Morey seem to be playing it safe (for now) but if Harden decides to leave the Nets this summer, there seems to be a solid chance that he’ll make the short trip to Pennsylvania.