The Sixers finally traded struggling star guard James Harden early Tuesday morning, according to reports.
As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski From ESPN, the team is sending Harden, PJ Tucker and rookie Filip Petrusev to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Nic Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris Sr., Kenyon Martin Jr. and draft compensation: an unprotected 2028 first-round pick future first-round pick swap, two future second-round picks and another first-round pick to be redirected from a third team.
The Sixers, per Wojnarowskialso waive Danny Green to make the deal easier.
This ends a painful saga for the team that began with Harden’s trade request in June and escalated throughout the offseason, particularly because Harden publicly called Daryl Morey, the team’s president of basketball operations, a “liar.” Harden was with the team off and on and was in the group at the time of the signing but did not play. The team had him work on his “conditioning.”
The move underscores the importance of Sixers fourth-year guard Tyrese Maxey, who shined early in the season and looks to pick up where Harden left off last season. Maxey’s continued development as a playmaker is currently considered one of the most interesting storylines surrounding the team.
With Batum, Covington, Morris Sr. and Martin, the Sixers have at least two players who can help them right now, if not more. Batum is a reliable spot-up shooter with passing skills. Covington isn’t as effective as he was in his first stint in Philadelphia, but he remains more than capable as both a shooter and defensive wing. Morris Sr. has yet to play a minute in the 2023-24 season for “personal reasons,” and his inclusion in the deal is more for financial reasons than anything else. Martin, only 22 years old, is a high-flyer who is still seen as having untapped potential after a few years with the Houston Rockets. Martin is the type of athlete who previously found success under new Sixers head coach Nick Nurse. He may be the wild card of the trade.
The exact details of the draft picks the Sixers are acquiring are not yet known, but they add very notable compensation to the deal. In particular, the Clippers’ unprotected 2028 first-round pick may be the most valuable asset to the Sixers in the entire deal.
The Sixers will – at least for now – settle on a roster construction that includes reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Maxey, Tobias Harris and role players in the hope that Embiid doesn’t need a traditional second star to bring his team a championship – or that Maxey can be that second star, a tall order for someone who turns 23 this week.
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