The 2023-24 NBA season officially commenced last night with the defending champions securing a dub against their nemesis and a newly formed superteam stealing a win on the road. And while the Philadelphia 76ers will have to wait until tomorrow to kick off their campaign, the fans certainly tuned in to still witness the eventful slate of games.
That being said, 76ers fans have quite a lot on their plates with the team opening the season with a huge asterisk attached. After all, what happens with James Harden could ultimately dictate how far they could go in the playoffs especially with their rivals having amped up their squads to the point where the East has suddenly become top-heavy.
Wild, but possible: Can the 76ers trade James Harden for this veteran All-Star PG?
One of the biggest storylines to keep an eye on before opening night was how Chris Paul would fit with the Warriors. Golden State may have ultimately lost the battle to a mighty Phoenix team, but the future Hall of Famer did manage to play well despite being new to his team’s style of play.
However, despite the positive signs, a relatively lengthy adjustment period could make the Warriors shudder considering their shortening championship window. In that case, there could be a scenario where they shop the veteran playmaker at midseason’s point even if it’s only a rental.
In that case, Philadelphia can volunteer itself as a suitor. Harden is far from a perfect fit for Golden State’s pass-happy, movement-based offense, but at this point in their careers, Harden has the edge in half-court scoring and relative size — two major points of vulnerability for the 2022 champions.
On the flip side, whereas Harden has turned into an idle mammoth due to his prolonged absence from the team, Paul can immediately contribute to the 76ers as a key player. The team’s lack of a natural table-setter is its Waterloo right now, and the veteran is still an elite facilitator who should be a beneficial presence for both Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. Philly’s much slower pace than Golden State’s should also serve him well.
Obviously, it will take an unrealistic degree of panic from the Warriors to even consider gunning for Harden at Paul’s expense (even if both players are set to be free agents next year anyway), but we have all seen more peculiar twists of fate in the league. If ever that point arises, a James Harden-Chris Paul swap would be an absolute win for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Swapping Harden for Paul would be a wild move, almost as wild as FanDuel Sportsbook’s incredible NBA sign-up promo today! Bet $5 or more on any game (with a $10 deposit) and you’ll win $200 in bonus bets PLUS three free months of NBA League Pass, letting you watch thrilling action on the house. Sign up for FanDuel now!