James Harden has reported to the Rockets facility, but it seems that he’s still unhappy in Houston. Now ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Harden added the “Philadelphia 76ers or any contender” to his wishlist. Since trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets have gone nowhere, the Beard now looks to be setting his sights lower.
If James Harden wants to get to Philly, he needs to change agencies before this thing gets messy.
James Harden has indicated to the Rockets that he’s open to being traded to the 76ers or other contenders, per @wojespn @espn_macmahon— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 8, 2020
Daryl Morey wants to keep Embiid and Simmons in Philly pic.twitter.com/fP0ecvNvzV
Unfortunately for Mr. Harden, he’s represented by his own mother instead of someone more powerful like Rich Paul. Klutch Sports could easily play hard ball with Houston to get James Harden where he wants to go. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Lakers star big man Anthony Davis. He was stuck playing in New Orleans, and Rich Paul took most of the blame for his stagnant career. Davis then demanded a deal to L.A., and Paul got it done. Harden must take the blame alone right now, but better representation would get him where he wants to go and help him maintain his image at the same time.
Regardless of which agent represents him, the rumor that Harden has his eyes on the 76ers has already put some wheels in motion. Philly point guard Ben Simmons recently told the media he was working on his shot with assistant coach Sam Cassell. Who exactly is he trying to impress now that he wasn’t before? Newly-hired manager Daryl Morey is obsessed with players who can shoot. By honing his shooting skills, Simmons is essentially saying, “Trade Embiid instead for James Harden instead of me.”
So who’s most likely to end up in this deal?
The answer is Ben Simmons, and it’s because of Daryl Morey’s obsession with analytics. Simmons is an analytical nightmare, as he refused to take jump shots until Morey showed up. There’s also no logic in having two ball-dominant players like James Harden and Ben Simmons on one team.
Joel Embiid is a nice fit alongside James Harden, based on what we saw two All-Star Games ago. Embiid took over in the fourth quarter of that game, which ended up being one of the most competitive All-Star Games in recent memory. Harden hasn’t been much of a closer in his career, so the roles of a Harden-Embiid duo is clear: Harden dominates all game, and Embiid closes in winning time. Both players can benefit from each other’s strengths and hide their own weaknesses. Harden and Embiid also don’t typically score from the same areas on the floor the way that Simmons and Embiid do. Harden and Embiid just make more sense than Harden and Simmons.
James Harden may get what he wants soon, but if he doesn’t, he’s going to look like a fool. Harden wants to win. Anthony Davis’ trade demands paid off for him, and now we barely remember that he was ever a Pelican. If Harden’s demands don’t pay off, he’ll be remembered as the hairy dude on the Houston Rockets who wouldn’t stop complaining.