Philadelphia 76ers won the James Harden trade

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

Philadelphia 76ers: An alternative line of thinking on the James Harden trade

So, the wait is finally over for Philadelphia 76ers fans.

James Harden has been traded, and Philly is not the destination.

While many Philadelphia fans lick their wounds, this author wants to close the book on the Harden saga with a reason for tears of joy.

The 76ers are the big winner in this story. Let me tell you why. Many fans were hoping for a trade that would swap Ben Simmons and other assets to the Houston Rockets for the legendary scorer, James Harden. I want to focus on two reasons why not getting what they wanted was a good thing.

#1: The number of assets it would take to obtain such a player

Hoops Hype reported that the Rockets were interested in a combination of Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and a hoard of first-round picks to obtain James Harden. Considering that it took four teams and Brooklyn to decimate their depth to get the trade done, the reason Philadelphia could not seal the deal was likely that Houston wanted even more than what is being reported.

How can a team win without depth? Morey did an outstanding job building depth. The short-term memory of many forgot how quickly this team progressed before being impacted by COVID-19 protocols. Even Tobias Harris was scoring efficiently and with consistency. The long-term well-being of a team is built on its ability to grow and maintain a healthy depth, whether that depth focuses on continuing to score, defending a lead, or changing the pace of the game, without a healthy depth, no team wins a championship.

There is little doubt the roster that exists today is capable of making it to the playoffs. However, many fans are concerned about its ability to bring home the championship. You do not bring home a championship with a depleted bench and lazy defense; even if you have out of this world scoring, defense is still the calling card that wins championships. This has been the pushing trend in sports in recent years: Offense, more points, more scoring. However, the truth is, efficiency is what matters on offense. Defensive teams can win a championship if they score efficiently with the opportunities presented to them. However, perhaps I see the game differently than others do; and since I am writing this article, that will have to do.

ALTERNATE VIEW. Harden slips away; tragedy sneaks closer. light

#2: James Harden has not won a championship

For all the discussion about Harden bringing a championship to Philly, he has not won a championship. He has been paired with the likes of Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook and has yet to deliver. They have constructed teams around him, given him superstar pairings, and nothing. So, what makes Philly or Brooklyn, for that matter, any different? There is no promise of a chip with The Beard onboard. Remember who won the East last year? Any MVPs in sight in Miami? Sometimes there is more to winning than superstar acquisition.

This is the very heart of why the Sixers nation should be excited today. Philadelphia did not extend its salary cap, blow up its very impressive rotation, give up on promising rookies too quickly, or mortgage it’s future in any way Wednesday for the unknown prospect of “what if?” While Morey may have been ready to pull the trigger, this failure to acquire his man may have been a blessing in disguise.

Truthfully, no one knows what the future holds here and what could have been. However, the best move now is to refocus your attention on getting that other shooter you need. You know… that second-tier shot creator with three-point range? Who is it? I do not know, but I am confident Morey has an idea and has already gotten to work.

Now, let us move on and never bring this up again.

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