Over two months have passed since James Harden opted into his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2023-24 season with the intention of receiving a trade to his intended destination — the Los Angeles Clippers. Alas, things haven't exactly gone according to plan for The Beard. With only a little over a month to go before the season starts, Harden still finds himself stuck in the City of Brotherly Love as trade talks have broken down over and over again between the two parties.
But as the old adage goes, if it doesn't work the first time or the second time, perhaps the third time's the charm. Or maybe the fourth. At this point, it remains unclear if Harden will ever get his wish. But the Sixers guard definitely hopes so. According to Yahoo Sports, via ClutchPoints Twitter (X), Harden “is still hoping to be traded” to the Clippers.
Given how much pull star players have around the league, it won't be a surprise if the Sixers eventually relent and just send James Harden away just to put this drama behind them. However, it's also imperative for the Sixers to maximize Harden's value as a trade asset if they were to make the most out of Joel Embiid's prime. A trade with the Clippers doesn't exactly aid in that goal, as they don't have the high-value assets, namely first-round picks and high-potential youngsters, to entice the Sixers in a trade.
However, the Sixers also need to take into account their place in this battle of leverage. Harden only has one year left in his deal, and teams may not exactly be head over heels for The Beard given his unpredictable nature. So any team other than the Clippers that ends up throwing their hat in the ring that is the Harden sweepstakes could end up losing him after just a season, which isn't an enticing outcome by any means.
In the end, as Zach Lowe of ESPN said in the past, expect trade talks for James Harden to continue between the Sixers and the Clippers as the two sides stare at each other and see which party blinks first.