Looking to improve but no fit for James Harden
Top-end talent wins championships in the NBA, but it means nothing without the right fits around them. These teams want to improve but have nowhere to put Harden on their roster.
18. Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton is the Pacers’ point guard and star. The 23-year-old made his first All-Star appearance in 2023 and hopes to take another step forward in his fourth NBA campaign. Indiana won’t stunt his growth by trading for the Beard.
17. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have a star backcourt in Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Their front office has explored adding a third star, but Harden does not fit. Young has defensive issues, and pairing him with Harden would give them the worst defensive backcourt in the NBA.
Swapping Ice Trae for the Beard makes zero sense for the Hawks, which leaves both sides without a fit. Atlanta is a team to watch on the trade market as the deadline approaches, but there is almost no chance they acquire Harden.
16. Sacramento Kings
The Kings shocked the NBA by finishing third in the Western Conference last season before being bounced by the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Sacramento hopes to repeat their regular season success and make their first postseason run since 2004.
They played fast and pushed the tempo last season, so they do not want James Harden dribbling the air out of the ball. De’Aaron Fox was an All-Star in 2023 and will continue running the show in Sactown.