Most people expect the Philadelphia 76ers to trade star guard James Harden at some point this offseason.
But one issue is that executive Daryl Morey reportedly is asking for too much in return for the 33-year-old.
“His asking price is exorbitant,” said Adrian Wojnarowski of Morey. “Teams are not engaging the Sixers with the kind of asks that Daryl Morey is asking for James Harden. That’s where Daryl Morey always starts in trade talks, really high. Over time, perhaps, you work him back down.”
Harden was traded to the Sixers midway through the 2021-22 season by the Brooklyn Nets. The enigmatic and disgruntled Ben Simmons was sent out in the deal, and at the time, it looked like Philly had killed two birds with one stone.
But he played poorly that season, and the Sixers got eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat.
This past season, they finished with 54 regular season games and looked to be a true championship contender, especially since center Joel Embiid put forth a career-best effort and won his first league MVP award. But they blew a golden opportunity in the Eastern Conference semifinals by losing a 3-2 series lead and getting sent home by the Boston Celtics.
Harden played better during the 2022-23 campaign, but he has a track record of playing horribly in elimination games, and he could quite possibly be the proverbial albatross that is holding Philly back.
There was speculation he might opt out of the final year of his contract this summer and become a free agent, but he instead opted in. Wojnarowski added there is some hope the Sixers may be able to persuade him to at least play out his contract with the team.
The big rumor was that Harden wanted to return to the Houston Rockets, the team he spent a good chunk of his career with. More recently, the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a possible suitor for his services.
The guard is originally from the Los Angeles area, so perhaps heading to the Clippers would make sense for him, especially since such a trade would make them legitimate championship contenders and perhaps the favorites to win it all in the minds of many.