B/R mock has the 76ers trading James Harden for a spicy return

James Harden (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
James Harden (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden. Nicolas Batum – Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

Why this trade makes a lot of sense for the Philadelphia 76ers

From a financial standpoint, dealing a flight risk like James Harden for two expiring contracts in Robert Covington and Marcus Morris Sr. and a meager one in Brandon Boston Jr. plays well into their cards of setting the table for an albatross cap space next season, which is projected to be around $65 million.

However, the 76ers aren’t trading a giveaway here — meaning that quality pieces must redound to Philly to even out the asset scale. In that sense, will Boston Jr., and come considerable draft capital, including an unprotected first-rounder, suffice?

The optics say no, but around a larger framework, the deal suddenly makes more sense. No one is pulling out a crest of draft capital for Harden who can very well walk away for nothing next year, well, aside from the Clippers.  With LA itching for a title run, the 76ers have some leverage up their sleeve to force them to sweeten the pot. And if this is a baseline that could expand a bit more, then the Clippers should be safely tabbed as their ideal trading partner.

In addition, Covington and Morris Sr., while imperfect fits, provide considerable stability at the forward positions and could be flipped for modest assets later on.