In the midst of the ongoing 2020 Playoffs, several crazy trade rumors have started surfacing in the league. These include the blockbuster deal that would send Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. With Mike D’Antoni currently emerging as the front-runner to become their next head coach, there is speculation that the Sixers hope that he could help lure Harden to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sixers may not have any intention of breaking the young superstar duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in the 2020 offseason, but they could immediately change their mind once a player of Harden’s caliber becomes available on the trading block. According to Jake Rogers of NBA Analysis Network, the Sixers could offer a package that includes Embiid, Josh Richardson, and a 2020 first-round pick to acquire Harden and Ben McLemore from the Rockets.
The departure of Embiid would definitely break the hearts of lots of Sixers’ fans, especially those who had hoped the player would end their years of title drought. However, Rogers believes that sacrificing Embiid to get Harden would be worth it for the Sixers.
“The 76ers would benefit because there is already a proven connection between Mike D’Antoni and Harden. Managing to bring them to the much weaker Eastern Conference could provide them with a legitimate pathway to the NBA Finals. Philadelphia would need to have confidence in their supporting cast around Harden and Ben Simmons after moving Embiid. The 76ers wouldn’t have much flexibility to make additional moves, so they’d need to make the most of their existing personnel.”
Harden would be an incredible addition to the Sixers. Aside from being one of the best scorers in the league, he would also give them a great playmaker, ball-handler, perimeter defender, and an elite three-point shooter. This season, the 31-year-old shooting guard averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.
The potential deal would also allow the Sixers to utilize Al Horford as their full-time starting center. With Embiid gone, Horford could receive more playing time and a significant role on the offensive end of the floor, which could help him bring back his old self and start living up to expectations from the massive contract that he signed with the Sixers last summer.
The core of Harden, Simmons, Horford, and Tobias Harris may not be enough to make the Sixers the No. 1 favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next year, but if they manage to build good chemistry, they would undoubtedly become a more dangerous team to face in the Eastern Conference.