Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden is one of the superstars who are frequently mentioned in various trade rumors. He may have started the 2020-21 NBA season with the Rockets, but he’s still widely expected to be moved to another team before the 2021 trade deadline. One of the most intriguing partners for the Rockets in the potential blockbuster deal involving “The Beard” is the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a recent article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network came up with an idea that would enable Harden to join forces with Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles. In the proposed scenario, the Clippers would send Paul George and Marcus Morris to the Rockets in exchange for Harden and P.J. Tucker.
The Clippers may have recently given George a massive contract extension, but Patuto believes that they should strongly consider including him in the package if they are presented the opportunity to pair Leonard with a player of Harden’s caliber.
“The Clippers might see an opening to acquire a player like Harden to pair with Kawhi Leonard. Along with Harden, the Clippers would acquire PJ Tucker. Los Angeles could use some help at point guard and from three-point range. This is where Tucker would fit in. Harden would give them another ball handler within the offense. If the Clippers were to acquire Harden, they would get one of the best isolation scorers in the league and a player who is not afraid of the big moment. This would make the Clippers even tougher to guard along the perimeter.”
Harden may not be an elite defender like George, but he’s clearly on a different level on the offensive end of the floor. Compared to George, he’s a better scorer, playmaker, and floor-spacer. Also, he’s arguably more capable of excelling on the court under pressure. When the opposing team’s defense is focused on Leonard, Harden could immediately step up and take charge of the offense in crucial situations.
Meanwhile, if the deal would push forward, it could also be beneficial for the Rockets. By sending their disgruntled superstar to Los Angeles, they would be receiving another All-Star and a veteran three-and-D forward in return. Adding George and Morris to the core of John Wall, Christian Wood, and DeMarcus Cousins could help the Rockets remain competitive in the loaded Western Conference. Since Harden is a better superstar statistically than George, the Rockets could also ask the Clippers to include young players and future first-round picks to their offer.