If one remembers back to Sam Hinkie’s ‘Process’ era, virtually every free agent or impending free agent always listed the 76ers, as one of the team’s interested in them. As we all know, Hinkie never paid any large amount for any free agent during his time in Philly, even though about 25-30 players were ‘reported’ to be in negotiations with him every year.
Why? Because all the other NBA teams knew the Sixers had a ton of cap space and could outbid them for a player if they so choose. It was a semi-plausible threat that agents could float and hopefully scare the teams they really wanted to go to, and jack up the price.
Same reasoning here.
Houston does have the cap space to sign Harden to a max deal. Now, like with Hinkie’s Sixers, why on earth a young team would want to is another question.
As Haynes even said in his story:
"At the moment, the Sixers are the only logical option, coming off a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference in the regular season."
So far, the only rumored Non-Philly destination is Houston. There is so little interest in signing Harden with the rest of the NBA, the NBA Twitter rumor mill can not come up with anything but his former team, which he left because they were not going to be any good, which is still true.
Houston’s general manager, Rafael Stone, was Morey’s assistant before he left. If the Harden rumor is true, Morey could easily find out.
Harden to Houston is not happening, unless the 76ers really low-ball Harden with an offer that, out of pride, he feels he has to turn down. He would also have to be good with his legacy of never being on an NBA championship team.
Despite what you might read or hear, the 76ers hold all the cards in negotiating with Harden. They are negotiating against themselves for ‘The Beard’. Of course, the Sixers have been outmaneuvered before when going against nobody.