Mega Deal: LA Clippers Secure James Harden in Blockbuster Trade with 76ers
The LA Clippers have pulled off a monumental coup, acquiring the services of 10-time All-Star guard, James Harden, in a seismic trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. The deal, which unfolded on Monday night, marks a colossal shift in the NBA landscape.
In a groundbreaking transaction, the 76ers sent a formidable trio, consisting of James Harden, P.J. Tucker, and Filip Petrusev, to the Clippers. In return, the Clippers relinquished a collection of assets, including Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a 2029 pick swap. Moreover, an additional first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder sweetened the deal.
The intricate web of the trade extends further, with the Clippers offering a 2027 first-round pick swap to Oklahoma City, facilitating the Thunder’s movement of a protected 2026 first-round pick to the 76ers. To complete the deal, the Clippers also sent two second-round picks in 2024 and 2029 to the Sixers.
This blockbuster deal necessitated the Sixers to waive veteran guard Danny Green, creating the roster space required for the transaction. In return, they acquired expiring contracts, positioning themselves for substantial salary cap space ranging from $50 million to $65 million in the upcoming summer.
James Harden’s arrival bolsters the Clippers’ formidable lineup, aligning him with All-Star stalwarts such as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Additionally, the reunion with former teammate Russell Westbrook, who shared the court with Harden during their stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, adds another layer of intrigue.
The negotiations between the Clippers and the 76ers had been ongoing since July, intensifying over the weekend as it became increasingly untenable for Harden to reintegrate into the 76ers’ roster. The Sixers had aimed to secure two first-round picks in a Harden trade, believing that these assets, coupled with the second-round picks and a pick swap, would enable them to pursue another high-caliber guard to complement MVP Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.
Meanwhile, the Clippers retain versatile fifth-year guard Terance Mann, who had been sidelined due to a sprained left ankle.
Sources close to James Harden express his elation regarding the trade, with plans to head to Los Angeles at the earliest opportunity. There is even a possibility that he will be in attendance at Tuesday night’s Clippers home game against the Orlando Magic.
This trade marks the culmination of a tumultuous chapter for Harden, who had requested a trade out of Philadelphia in June, following his decision to exercise his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. A strained relationship with 76ers president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, reached its breaking point during a promotional event in China in August when Harden publicly referred to Morey as “a liar.”
For Harden, who grew up in Southern California and has strong ties to the region, this move fulfills a desire to play for the Clippers. He joins a lineage of Southern California products who have chosen to represent the Clippers, alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Clippers, armed with the trio of Harden, Westbrook, and George, look to capitalize on their array of talent to clinch their first-ever NBA championship, as they embark on a highly anticipated season.
The Clippers, with a current record of 2-1, brace for back-to-back games in Los Angeles, commencing with a clash against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, followed by a showdown against the Lakers on Wednesday. Subsequently, they have a four-day hiatus before embarking on a three-game road trip starting in New York against the Knicks on Monday. Harden and Tucker’s integration into the team will be closely watched during this road trip.
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