James Harden is putting his feet on the ground, refusing to budge on his trade demands three months after initially declaring that he wanted out of the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Harden did not attend the Sixers' media day on Monday morning, remaining “upset” that the team hasn't yet given in to his request that he be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Wojnarowski then added that this could give the Sixers or the league grounds to fine Harden, adding further drama to what has already been such a drawn-out saga. And it seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel yet when it comes to this hullabaloo. The ESPN insider also wrote that the Sixers and Clippers, despite holding trade talks recently, have no traction on any prospective deal.
Given the Sixers' intention to remain competitive in an Eastern Conference housing the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks, a team that recently bolstered the roster with the addition of seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard, and the Boston Celtics, a team that acquired Jrue Holiday to up the talent level of their roster even further, there's simply no way the Clippers have any trade assets that would pique their interest.
For starters, the Clippers don't have any promising young guys, instead relying on veterans to lead the way for their supporting cast around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Moreover, these veterans, such as Norman Powell and Nicolas Batum, don't exactly move the needle on their own, their on-court impact as a collective paling in comparison to that of James Harden's. And to top it all off, the Clippers still don't have a lot of first-round picks to spare, as their draft warchest is still recovering from their trade for George over four years ago.
This trade saga continues to be a battle of both wills and leverage, an endurance test to see which party blinks first. At the moment, Harden is making sure to assert his demands, putting the Sixers in a bind with the 2023-24 regular season set to begin in a little over three weeks.