New Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey might have his sights set on James Harden - or he might not - but one thing is for sure: the Harden trade rumors are starting to heat up, and fast.
With Russell Westbrook reportedly looking to leave Houston, Harden's future with the Rockets is extremely up in the air, and on Sunday evening some new and fascinating information about Harden trickled out, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski:
Whoa there! Harden joining the Nets alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? I don't like it one bit. It would mean the Sixers don't land Harden, and it would mean they have to deal with a brand-new megateam in the East. No thanks
But, as Wojnarowski noted in a follow-up, the two sides haven't had any trade talks yet. So it's not time to sound the alarm. And, looking at it another way, this could actually be good news for Sixers fans who want Morey to take a run at Harden.
This makes it pretty clear that the 31-year-old former MVP is thinking about a future outside of Houston, and is amenable to playing on the East Coast. The Rockets are indebted to Harden for his contributions over the last eight seasons, so maybe they'll listen to where he'd like to play. But they're also going to try, if Harden gets traded, to get as much value in return as possible.
If the Sixers are willing to part with Ben Simmons - and that is an enormous if - then they can absolutely make a better offer for Harden than whatever the Nets would propose, draft picks be darned. Simmons is an All-NBA wunderkind a couple years away from his athletic prime. Those are obviously rare.
If Morey doesn't want to move Simmons, then things get much dicier for the Sixers. I can't imagine the Rockets are interested in Al Horford or Tobias Harris if they're about to undergo a teardown/rebuild, and Harden's contract doesn't come cheap.
In any case, Harden's situation is fascinating, and should be closely monitored as the NBA offseason ramps up into a gigantic week. The Draft is Wednesday, the free agency negotiation window opens Friday, and things are about to get very crazy.
Harden-to-Philly crazy? We'll just have to wait and see.