Daryl Morey, the former general manager of the Houston Rockets and current GM of the Philadelphia 76ers, would love to get his star player back into the mix and bring James Harden to the City of Brotherly Love. To that end, Philly is looking to create an aggressive trade package that would allow the Sixers to shed overpriced contracts while helping put together a championship contender by pairing Harden with Joel Embiid.
The Houston Rockets reportedly have no intention of trading their All-Star and the NBA’s top scorer. The Rockets are currently in rebuilding mode after they went all-in on a “small-ball philosophy” to try to contend for the NBA Championship. That attempt came up short and the Rockets were bounced from the playoffs in the Western Conference semifinals for the third time in four seasons under Mike D’Antoni.
D’Antoni and the Rockets agreed it was time he move on after he failed to get them to the next level. In one swoop, their head coach and general manager skipped town. D’Antoni went to Brooklyn to help his former star player, Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, during his first head coaching job in the NBA with the Nets.
Morey, meanwhile, departed Houston and accepted the GM job with the Philadelphia Sixers. The Sixers recently hired Doc Rivers as their new head coach after his run with the LA Clippers fizzled.
The Harden rumor hasn’t affected gambling markets — at least not yet. The Sixers are currently 30/1 odds to win the 2021 NBA championship, according to the Mirage Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas.
Harden Trade Market
Morey has never been shy about gambling with trades. Many general managers put out feelers, but few are willing to make bold moves to improve their team. Some of Morey’s aggro-moves fell short in Houston, but as the old gambler’s mantra goes, “You can’t hit the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.”
If Harden to Philly doesn’t pan out, Morey will figure out some other way to dump the hefty salaries on his books.
If Morey can figure out a suitable trade with Houston, it will most likely include Ben Simmons. Last month, rumors heated up that the Sixers would trade Simmons to the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the #1 pick in the NBA Draft and select LaMelo Ball. After an unimpressive round of Zoom interviews with the top draft teams, Ball’s draft stock dipped. Now the big word on the streets of Philadelphia is that Simmons will be the main bait in any trade involving Harden or another big-time guard.
“Daryl Morey, though, has a history of being active on the trade market, pursuing the different opportunities that exist out there,” said The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “I wouldn’t expect it to be any different now that he’s in Philadelphia.”
Now that Houston is in rebuilding mode under new head coach Stephen Silas, will they keep Harden and build a team around him? Or will they trade Harden to start from scratch?
And what happens to poor Russ Westbrook in all of this? Morey made an aggressive trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and swapped Chris Paul and draft capital for RWB, but reuniting RWB and Harden didn’t produce a championship. Heck, it didn’t even get them into the Western Conference Finals.
Harden to Knicks?
If Harden doesn’t go to Philly, could the Knicks finally make a huge move to land him? Even if the Knicks suck ass like they usually do, Harden can likely score 60 or 70 points a night.
Heck, why not let him try to break Wilt Chamberlin’s record of 100 points at Madison Square Garden?
One thing is for certain, if the Knicks can land Harden, there won’t be an empty seat in MSG, even on the Sky Bridge. Even the biggest James Dolan haters in NYC will want to watch of one of the NBA’s greatest scorers put his skills on display in the greatest arena in the world.