The James Harden drama in Philly is finally over. The Los Angeles Clippers traded for the disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star in what many consider a midnight heist. As Harden prepares to make his debut for his new team following the blockbuster trade, we'll make our bold predictions for the Clippers for the rest of the 2023-24 NBA season.

In addition to the former league MVP, the Clippers also acquired PJ Tucker and Filip Petrusev. In return, Los Angeles sent over a package of Marcus Morris Sr., Nic Batum, Robert Covington, and KJ Martin along with a cupboard of draft picks and a pick swap to the Sixers. Harden now joins Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to form a Big Three in LA and reunites with his buddy and former OKC Thunder and Houston Rockets teammate Russell Westbrook.

The acquisition certainly puts the Clippers back in the upper echelon of contenders in the Western Conference. Nonetheless, Los Angeles will still have its work cut out for them with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors patrolling the top of the bracket.

With that said, here are some bold Clippers predictions for the 2023-24 NBA season after acquiring James Harden in the blockbuster trade with the Sixers.

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Paul George and Kawhi Leonard stay healthy

The arrival of James Harden further adds more star power to the Clippers and eases the offensive load carried by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Harden is essentially insurance for Leonard and George. The only real chance for the Clips to win a title is if those two are healthy and whole in the postseason. Harden's presence alongside Russell Westbrook as players who can still carry the offensive load, create for others and for themselves, and make plays will help preserve the two stars throughout the regular playoffs.

Leonard and George have both failed to reach at least 60 games in four seasons so far with the Clippers.  The two have only played in 121 games together since arriving together in the summer of 2019. But they do have a record of 85-36, which accounts for a 57-win campaign. With Harden easing the load for them, expect them to enter the playoffs healthy and whole.

Paul George will have an MVP-like season

Paul George has been haunted by injuries since he came to Los Angeles. In four years in his hometown, PG13 has yet to put together a 60-game season.

But with Harden's arrival and George entering the season with a clean bill of health, we predict him to have a similar campaign to the one he had in the 2018-19 season, where he finished third in MVP voting. George had the best year of his career that season with career-high averages of 28.0 points and 8.2 rebounds.

George is off to a flying start so far in his 13th NBA season. In three games, the eight-time All-Star is averaging 27.3 points on a scorching 54.9 percent shooting from the field, including 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Harden seems more than content to play the role of facilitator. He should be able to set up PG13 for plenty of easy looks and that should help the two-way wing shoot more efficiently from the field. If George is able to keep producing those numbers while putting up career-high percentages, he could make some noise as an MVP candidate once again.

The Clippers will win the Western Conference

With Leonard and George healthy, we predict the Clippers to win the Western Conference and make the NBA Finals. Following the deal, the Clippers jumped to the fifth-best odds to win the 2024 NBA title.

We all saw what a healthy Playoff Kawhi Leonard looks like. That version of Leonard essentially won a country an NBA championship.

In the times Leonard was healthy in the playoffs, the Clippers looked like legitimate title contenders. Los Angeles looked like it was well on its way to the NBA Finals in 2021 before it lost Leonard in the second round of the postseason. The team still made the Western Conference Finals that year. But not having their franchise superstar on the floor proved to be too much of a hurdle for them to overcome.

The Clippers also looked deadly in their first round series against the Phoenix Suns in the 2023 NBA Playoffs with Leonard leading the way. He averaged 34.5 points on 54.5 percent field goal shooting, including 60.0 percent three point shooting in the first two games of the playoffs. Unfortunately, Leonard tore his meniscus in Game 2 and missed the rest of the series. Without Leonard and George, the Suns eliminated them in five games.

With the added star depth in Harden and retaining their more important role players, expect Leonard and George to be healthy and ready throughout the postseason. And with both of them entering the playoffs in full form, they should emerge as the West's representative in the NBA Finals.