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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

James Harden at center of interesting trade report

James Harden on the court

The Brooklyn Nets have barely had their “Big Three” on the floor together since they assembled what they thought would be a championship roster, and one of their superstar players is reportedly open to the idea of moving on.

NBA reporter Marc Stein wrote on Monday that sources have told him Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has his sights set on a James Harden trade. The belief is that Morey will explore possible sign-and-trade scenarios involving Ben Simmons this offseason. The likelihood of a blockbuster trade like that actually happening is low, but Harden may be open to it.

According to Stein, there is “noise circulating leaguewide about Harden’s reported openness to relocation this summer.” Harden turned down a contract extension from the Nets in March.

Morey and Harden had a successful partnership with the Houston Rockets from 2012 to 2020. They have maintained a friendly relationship. When Morey left Houston to join the Sixers, he tried to acquire Harden from the Rockets. There has been talk for a while that he still wants to find a way to make it happen.

Harden has a $47 million player option on his contract for next season. The 32-year-old has averaged 22.7 points, 10.0 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game in his second year with Nets. Kyrie Irving recently returned to the team, and there was some talk about him potentially playing in home games due to a loophole with his vaccination status. That is unlikely to happen, which creates a great deal of uncertainty for the Nets both in the short and long term.

The idea of a Harden-for-Simmons swap seems farfetched, but nothing can be ruled out in today’s NBA.

H/T NBC Sports Philadelphia
Photo: Feb 16, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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