The 76ers reach a deal to trade James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers

Former NBA MVP James Harden has never missed the playoffs in his 14-year career and is still looking for his first championship. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports)

Former NBA MVP James Harden has never missed the playoffs in his 14-year career and is still looking for his first championship. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports)

Daryl Morey’s long national nightmare is over.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers manager agreed to trade 10-time NBA All-Star and former MVP James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.

It’s unclear what the 76ers received in return for the trade.

from boarding the team’s plane for its two-game, season-opening road trip last week. The , although Harden on Sunday. He should train with the team again on Tuesday and prepare to make his debut as early as Thursday.

Now, however, Harden will head to the other side of the country and prepare to start his season with the Clippers instead.

On the eve of free agency, Harden exercised his $35.6 million option for the 2023-24 season only to request a trade from the Sixers, preferably to the Clippers. When The news was leaked to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski With Philadelphia unable to find sufficient compensation for Harden and expecting the 34-year-old to report to training camp, Harden made his stance on his relationship status with the front office clear.

“Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be part of any organization he is a part of,” Harden told the crowd at a promotional event in China last month. He repeated this statement to make sure the cameras caught it.

The NBA fined Harden $100,000 for “intimating that he would not perform as required by his player contract unless he was transferred to another team.” It remains unclear whether the deception Harden was referring to was alluding to a lucrative contract extension that never materialized or his ongoing trade request.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Morey was neither surprised by Harden’s comments nor in his desire to achieve the same value for a player he once described as “the best offensive player of all time.”

In agreeing to the deal with Harden, Morey either received his asking price or lowered it, depending on how you feel about the 2018 MVP’s recent performance and the package the Sixers received in return. The most important opinion on this topic belongs to reigning league MVP Joel Embiid. His thoughts on a carousel that has led Ben Simmons to Harden and now a new team dynamic will be closely watched.

Harden averaged 21 points (44/39/87 shooting splits), a league-high 10.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds in 58 games last season, helping Philadelphia reach Game 7 in another Eastern Conference semifinal.

The 14-year veteran is no longer the player he was from 2016 to 2020, when he won three straight scoring titles in four straight seasons and finished in the top three in MVP voting. His 6.2 free throw attempts per game were his fewest since winning Sixth Man of the Year honors for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, and his defense has slipped from an already subpar level, but his playmaking remains exceptional.

Harden shined with the 76ers in the conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics last season, reaching 40 wins twice, but his 12.5 points per game on 21.8% shooting in four losses turned the series in a rival’s favor. Even in his prime, Harden was never known as a standout playoff player.

There should also be concerns about Harden’s health and his commitment to helping a team win.

Soft tissue injuries have plagued Harden since he arrived in Houston in 2020 training camp out of shape. Strained hamstrings in both legs hampered his playoff performances in 2021 and 2022. A strained tendon in his right foot and a sore left Achilles tendon cost him 24 games last season. He has missed an average of 23 games over the last three years after missing no more than nine games in his previous 11 seasons.

He did accept $14 million less when he declined a $47.4 million option last summer, making room for Philadelphia to add PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr., but that didn’t get the Sixers any closer to a title . Harden also gave up on the Houston Rockets in 2021 and the Brooklyn Nets in 2022 when it became clear that neither team would give him a chance to win his first ring, resulting in him being signed to a contract, which was still years away from the end, was forced into barter deals.

Harden will join a fourth team in two calendar years, marking the latest chapter in the strangest superstar career of all time.

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