Since they hired Daryl Morey as their new president of basketball operations, the Philadelphia 76ers have been continuously linked to Houston Rockets superstar James Harden. Though the Rockets haven’t given any single indication that they are planning to move the former MVP, Morey and the Sixers will still reportedly try to bring Harden to the City of Brotherly Love this fall. In a recent article, Andrew Hughes of Fansided’s Hardwood Houdini suggested a four-team megadeal involving the Rockets, Boston Celtics, and the New York Knicks that would enable the Sixers to land “The Beard.”
In the proposed scenario, the Sixers would receive Harden, Gordon Hayward, Vincent Poirier, Carsen Edwards, and Austin Rivers; the Celtics would get Robert Covington, Elfrid Payton, Ben McLemore, Wayne Ellington, and New York’s 2020 first-rounder; the Knicks would obtain Russell Westbrook, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, Danuel House, and Shake Milton; and the Rockets would acquire Al Horford, Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Romeo Langford, Matisse Thybulle, Taj Gibson, Mike Scott, six first-rounders, and the right to swap picks in 2023, 2025, and 2027.
Though it would cost them some of their core players and a plethora of draft assets, Hughes believes that pulling the trigger on the hypothetical four-team blockbuster would be a no-brainer for the Sixers.
“The third star in any trio with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has to be a 3-point shooter who can create his own offense. Who in the league does that better than James Harden? While he and Simmons will have growing pains together, the Kobe-Shaq comparisons for a Harden-Embiid pick-and-roll will inevitably form. Oh, and getting rid of the albatross contracts of Al Horford and Tobias Harris to acquire him–and taking on the do-it-all role-playing Gordon Hayward as a bonus–is worth mortgaging the future on a title for in the next several years.”
If the trade becomes a reality, it would dramatically change the Sixers’ fate in the 2020-21 NBA season. The potential arrival of Harden would undeniably force Simmons and Embiid to make huge adjustments with their game. However, sharing the court with an elite three-point shooter like Harden would help them maximize their full potential on the court.
Pairing Harden with Simmons and Embiid would not only make the Sixers a more dangerous team offensively, but it would also help them improve their performance on the defensive end of the floor. Unlike when he first entered the league, Harden has recently grown into a great defender, and he has proven on numerous occasions that he’s capable of guarding the best players in the league. If the trio of Harden, Simmons, and Embiid mesh well and stay away from any major injury, it’s not hard to see the Sixers easily conquering the Eastern Conference next year.