Since the Philadelphia 76ers made the move to trade James Harden to his preferred destination, no one can argue that both camps have become largely successful. The former is on track for championship contention while the latter has made strides to push the LA Clippers to another level.
With both the 76ers and the Clippers belonging to different conferences, a decisive playoff matchup is unlikely to occur unless both get over the hump and make the NBA Finals. Nevertheless, the fate of both teams are connected for a very different reason, and because of that, Philadelphia has to root for LA to once again sputter in the postseason this year.
Why the 76ers should root for the Clippers to flop once again this season
The 76ers have lucrative plans for this year’s free agency even though they are also embroiled in numerous trade rumors as of the moment. Meanwhile, the Clippers face the unenviable task of somehow re-signing Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Harden given new, tricky CBA restrictions.
Philadelphia’s brass will rave about the prospect of signing George or Leonard — two bona fide superstars who fit well next to Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. As of the moment though, it’s hard to envision one of them turning down an extension, but it is definitely within the realm of possibility as long as the Clippers falter and fail to win what was once expected to be an inevitable champiosnhip for the duo for the fifth season in a row.
LA has played significantly better after intially sputtering out of the gates in the aftermath of the Harden acqusition, but the road remains tough for them to upend other contenders in the West. Denver, the defending champions, match up very well against them. Minnesota has its best team yet since the Kevin Garnett days. Oklahoma City has youth and talent going for them. The rest of the West cannot simply be tossed aside.
Ultimately, a collapse from the LA Clippers would give the Philadelphia 76ers the best shot at luring Paul George or Kawhi Leonard away from Hollywood. If that ever happens, the franchise should be one of the definitive favorites to win the title next season and maybe, even beyond.