Sportress of Blogitude

Sixers reportedly ‘most likely’ trade destination for James Harden

How the entire James Harden saga plays out of course remains to be seen, but the plot continues to thicken amid the ongoing speculation.

Indications, however, continue to point to one team as his most likely destination should the Houston Rockets ultimately decide to succumb to the disgruntled star’s trade demands.

As things stand at this early point of the 2020-21 season, Harden is expected to remain in Houston in the short term. That said, anything could happen given the unpredictability of Harden and uncertainty that continues to surround the situation.

And if a blockbuster deal does indeed come to fruition, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop reports that the Philadelphia 76ers remain the favorite to end up with Harden.

“The list of teams where he might end up grows and shifts daily—it’s this NBA season’s favorite topic. But many insiders believe Philadelphia is most likely,” Abbott writes. “Harden wants to be there, [former Rockets boss and current Sixers president Daryl] Morey loves Harden so much he was just fined $50,000 for an automated tweet praising Harden. And the 76ers have Ben Simmons, the kind of young star [Rockets general manager Rafael] Stone seeks in return.”

To say the ongoing Harden situation has devolved into a complete debacle for the Rockets in the wake of his offseason trade demands would be an enormous understatement.

That said, outside of an unflattering off-court incident that led to Harden getting fined $50,000 by the NBA for violating COVID-19 protocols, the unhappy star has mostly played the role of good soldier since the start of the season.

Evidence of Harden’s seeming compliance to not making too many waves involves his recent praise of a few Rockets teammates as well as an endorsement of first-year head coach Stephen Silas, whose hiring was believed to have played a role in Harden’s trade demand.

As Abbott notes, the Sixers, a team long considered among the favorites to acquire Harden, have the potential pieces in place to pull off a deal. Ben Simmons would be the star-caliber player the Rockets seek in any potential trade, and Morey’s longstanding loyalty to Harden presumably could help get a blockbuster deal across the finish line.

Still, there are no shortage of moving pieces that would have to somehow fall into place in any Harden deal, including the Rockets relenting and moving their franchise player. In other words, stay tuned.