How Westbrook trade impacts Sixers' pursuit of Harden

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The Rockets and Wizards shook up the NBA with a monster trade on Wednesday night, sending Russell Westbrook to the Wizards and John Wall to the Rockets along with a first-round pick:

We're just 20 days away from the first games of the 2020-21 NBA season, and Houston decided to change its roster in a massive way - which makes you wonder, now that they've initiated blowing up the Westbrook/James Harden dynamic, if they'd be willing to do it again.

The Sixers were reported to be pursuing Harden in a trade less than a month ago, right after Daryl Morey took over as President of Basketball Operations, and right around the time Westbrook reportedly demanded a trade out of Houston after playing with Harden for just one season.

Does this move change anything in the Sixers' pursuit of Harden?

It certainly doesn't hurt.

The last we heard from Harden's camp, he was entertaining the possibility of playing in either Brooklyn or Philadelphia if he decided he was done with his time in Houston. Harden was reportedly more keen on the Nets, but that dynamic sounded extremely wonky, and the fit was much clearer in Philadelphia.

The fact that Harden is reportedly willing to come to the East, combined with Houston acknowledging that the Harden-Westbrook dynamic was a failed experiment, makes it at least remotely possible that they'd also be willing to deal Harden - for a sky-high price, of course, which would likely start with Ben Simmons.


It also helps that the fit between Harden and Wall is not obvious. Both are ball-dominant guards with high usage rates, similar to the kind of player Harden failed to mesh with in Westbrook. 

And Wall has played just 73 games since the end of the 2016-17 season because of numerous injury problems. I don't think Harden, who turned 31 earlier this year and seems keen on winning a title, is excited about waiting around for a player who can't seem to get healthy. The same goes for the Rockets' recently-acquired DeMarcus Cousins.

It's entirely possible Houston holds on to Harden and continues to probe the market for the best deal. It's also possible Harden forces the Rockets' hand and lands in Brooklyn. But this first domino has to have Sixers fans feeling at least better about landing Harden than they did on Wednesday morning.

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