Ranking potential landing spots for James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia 76ers have the James Harden trade request hanging over their franchise. The ten-time All-Star made it clear that he wants out and his relationship with Sixers president Daryl Morey cannot be repaired. Philadelphia has to try to keep the franchise in contention around Joel Embiid, so they are in no rush to deal Harden. Morey will wait for the top offer as he did in the Ben Simmons drama that landed the Beard in the City of Brotherly Love.

Harden was part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary team and is a future Hall of Famer, but his market is not robust. The 34-year-old has requested his third trade in three years and is no longer the unstoppable scorer he was in his prime. Harden is also in the final year of his contract and cannot be extended. He wants to be a Clipper, but LA has been unwilling to meet Morey’s asking price.

How will this situation progress with the regular season just days away? Does Harden force his way out? Will he play for the 76ers until Daryl Morey finds a better deal? Nobody knows what the Beard is planning, but it is worth ranking possible landing spots in terms of fit.

No way James Harden lands here

29. Brooklyn Nets

Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn just 20 months ago, and it was a messy exit. There is no way the Nets are getting back into the Harden business.

28. Denver Nuggets

The defending champions have Jamal Murray at point guard, and Nikola Jokic running their offense. They have zero need for James Harden.

27. Boston Celtics

The Celtics just added Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis to go all-in on winning a championship. They could have traded for Harden but wanted Holiday’s superior defense around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

26. Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee just traded for Damian Lillard and is not giving up a key piece of their core to add James Harden. The Beard’s ball-dominant style is not a fit in Cream City.

25. Cleveland Cavaliers

Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are locked in as the Cavs backcourt. Cleveland may look to shake things up before the deadline, but James Harden does not fit.

24. Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies gave up two first-round picks to acquire Marcus Smart this offseason. They have no reason to take the ball out of Ja Morant’s hands, and the 34-year-old Harden does not fit with their young core.

23. Phoenix Suns

Phoenix traded for Bradley Beal to pair with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker this offseason. No way they give up on that experiment already to land James Harden. The Suns are all-in on winning a title, but they cannot fit the Beard’s salary on their books without dealing one of their big three.

They are not the only teams completely out on trading for James Harden.