3 Teams that may steal James Harden from the 76ers in NBA Free Agency

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 07 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 07 (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Rumors have been swirling all year long that the Philadelphia 76ers could lose James Harden once the 2023 NBA Free Agency opens, and that chatter is starting to heat up.

The likelihood of Harden opting out of his player option for next season to hit the market is strong, and if it does come to fruition, here are three teams who could steal him from Philadelphia.

No. 1 – Los Angeles Lakers

By far, the Los Angeles Lakers are the most out-there name in terms of terms that could lure Harden away from the 76ers, but they are worth mentioning. The Lakers could be looking for an upgrade in the backcourt after D’Angelo Russell largely fell flat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, and Harden would certainly fit the billing. Kyrie Irving seems like their top target, but if he re-signs in Dallas, pivoting to Harden would make some sense for the purple and gold.

Adding Harden would immediately form a lethal Big 3 alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While James is reportedly considering retirement this off-season, perhaps the Lakers going all-in on another star like Harden could entice him to stick around for another year or so. Harden would alleviate a significant chunk of the workload off of James in terms of scoring and facilitating, which is something the Lakers lacked mightily this past season.

To make enough room for Harden financially, the Lakers would have to part ways with some good role players, which could sting. However, if they want to form one of the league’s toughest trios in 2023-24, it could be worth it. Los Angeles is not the likeliest destination for Harden, but it’s one to keep an eye on, as that front office is certainly willing to spend big money to add household names to its roster, as they’ve shown recently.