Two weeks ago, the 2018 league MVP and future Hall of Famer requested a trade from the 76ers. He opted into his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season as a way to help Philadelphia orchestrate a trade.
With the 76ers in win-now mode, it’s safe to assume that president of basketball operation Daryl Morey will be firm on wanting a proven scorer who can help the club right away. And an intriguing blockbuster trade proposal has the 76ers landing exactly that.
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley proposed a massive trade that would see the 76ers send Harden to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for ex-Philly guard Jrue Holiday plus a 2024 second-round draft pick:
“Now, would Milwaukee’s fourth-ranked defense slip after swapping out Holiday (an elite, all-purpose stopper) for Harden (an often disinterested defender)? No question. But the Bucks would wager that their offensive growth would outpace their defensive slippage. Since they’d still have (Giannis) Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez to clean up some of Harden’s mistakes, it might be a savvy gamble.
As for the Sixers, they’d essentially be placing the opposite bet. In their eyes, they could create an elite, soul-crushing defense built around Holiday, Joel Embiid and P.J. Tucker while still fielding a good-but-maybe-not-great offense with the reigning MVP still leading the charge.
Bring Holiday to Philly, and suddenly the Sixers could have a defensive answer for just about anything opponents throw at them. Holiday and Tucker are two of the more malleable stoppers in this league, and they’d have Embiid, a three-time All-Defensive selection, behind them. Add De’Anthony Melton to the mix, and they’d be even stingier.”
The Bucks won the NBA Championship two seasons ago, but that was followed up by a failure to advance past the second round in consecutive years. That prompted the team to part ways with head coach Mike Budenholzer, and Adrian Griffin was hired as his replacement.
So the front office could be keen on shaking up the roster a bit as they look for a second championship in the Giannis Antetokounmpo era. And with the 76ers once again bowing out in the second round, they too could use a blockbuster trade to change up the core around Embiid.
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