Some Big Stars Floated as James Harden’s Replacement in Philly

Free agency hasn’t even begun yet but the NBA world has been thrown into a spin after the news that James Harden is opting into his deal with Philly but only so the franchise can trade him.

“James Harden is opting into his $35.6 million deal for next season in order for the 10-time NBA All-Star and the 76ers to work together on a trade out of Philadelphia, league sources told The Athletic,” NBA insider Shams Charania reports.

“…The 76ers made it clear throughout the process that the franchise did not see a long-term future with Harden, sources said.”

Teams including the Clippers, Heat and Knicks have been named as suitors for the shooting guard.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst thinks a Harden replacement could be someone like Damian Lillard or even Kyrie Irving.

“So, I would not be surprised if Kyrie wanted to investigate what’s going in Philadelphia,” Windhorst said on Pardon the Interruption Thursday. “The other name here is Dame Lillard. Is it possible that Philadelphia, if James Harden moves out, could acquire assets from Los Angeles and prepare an offer for Dame Lillard?”

Both of those players come with their own very special sets of baggage, including monster contracts but alongside Joel Embiid, either of them could forge a championship team.

Securing their services would definitely come at a price and the Sixers would probably need to part ways with a young talent Tyrese Maxey.

With the recent reports that Paul George is being shopped around, Sixers fans could be hoping to acquire PG-13’s services but his name hasn’t been suggested by any credible insiders. Yet.

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“The Clippers and Sixers have been in contact this week, league sources told @YahooSports, where Los Angeles — among wide-ranging talks on Marcus Morris and Norman Powell — have approached Philadelphia on separate ideas of trading for James Harden and Tobias Harris,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer said.

If the Clippers do retain George and re-sign Russell Westbrook, they could have Harden PG-13, Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard on the same team. Wild.

For any team, securing Harden’s services would be a win. He was the only Philly player in franchise history to average 20/5/10 and during his time there.

The official breakdown of his stats was 21.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 10.6 APG.

READ MORE: The Latest NBA Free Agency Rumors

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