James Harden is making the offseason interesting for the 76ers
Just when it looked like the Philadelphia 76ers were on the verge of their first championship since 1983, things unraveled at the seams. Having failed mightily last postseason, at least it appeared as if Philly was trying it again with the same group (and new coach Nick Nurse).
However, James Harden does not want to come back to Philadelphia, demanding a trade out of town. Harden then took things a step further when he recently called team president Daryl Morey a liar.
A failed contract negotiation (Harden was seeking a large extension by the team), Philadelphia is unwilling to accommodate his request/demand at this time. Harden did invoke his $35.6 million player option ahead of this season in the hopes the Sixers dealt him.
Philadelphia did attempt to trade Harden earlier this offseason, but were asking teams to get a ton of players in return. Morey nas now said the team was no longer willing to trade Harden, and that’s when Harden decided to rip the ownership.
This drama is clearly going to annoy and/or amuse fans of the 76ers, and it ought to make fans of other Eastern Conference teams quite happy. How this might impact the team’s relationship with Joel Embiid remains to be seen.
Observe the East Winds
The Philadelphia 76ers weren’t necessarily going to be betting favorites to win the East this season, but they were in the mix. Possibly without Harden would see a shift in the odds.
Here is a look at the top half-dozen teams in terms of odds to win the Eastern Conference…
Boston Celtics +225
Milwaukee Bucks +300
Miami Heat +450
Philadelphia 76ers +650
Cleveland Cavaliers +1000
New York Knicks +1600
. . . and here’s the complete list, according to NBA conference odds.
This scenario figures to change if/when Harden is dealt.
Saga Ends Where?
While James Harden might want a trade, that doesn’t mean the Sixers are going to comply.
Odds are suggesting Harden won’t be at camp, (nay -500, yay +300, per NBA special odds).
The team is eventually going to have to make a decision. Philadelphia can’t afford to lose Harden and get (relatively) nothing back, all the while mollifying reigning MVP Joel Embiid.
Harden not playing in Philly next season means the Los Angeles Clippers (-265) appear to be his destination of choice.
There will be other teams interested in acquiring him as well, including…
Chicago Bulls +600
Houston Rockets +600
New York Knicks +800
Miami Heat +1000
Philadelphia won’t want to trade Harden to another team in the East, however.