So far, the James Harden trade looks like a lopsided victory for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ahead of last year’s trade deadline, the 76ers acquired the 2018 league MVP in a blockbuster deal with the Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn Nets. All-Star Ben Simmons, the No. 1 selection of the 2016 NBA Draft, was the centerpiece of the return for the Nets.
But while Harden and Joel Embiid of the 76ers competing for the No. 2 seed in the East, the Nets are in retooling mode after dealing away Kevin Durant (to Phoenix) and Kyrie Irving (to Dallas) ahead of this year’s trade deadline.
Now, what if the 76ers got bold and decided to move out Harden for another big-named scorer and more assets? Over at NBA Analysis Network, James Piercey proposed a scenario in which the 76ers deal their star guard to the New York Knicks.
In Piercey’s proposal, the 76ers would receive star guard Jalen Brunson, forward Opi Toppin plus 2024 and 2026 first-round picks:
“James Harden has a player option this summer. He could decline it and hit the open market. In that event, the Sixers would be better off moving him than losing him for nothing.
If they are forced to move Harden, this is a good return. Brunson is equipped to make up much of his production. He’s also nearly a decade younger than his Bearded peer.
With that in mind, this deal also sets the Sixers up for the future. Toppin is a player with untapped potential.
Throw in a pair of first-round picks, and this is a whole lot better than simply losing Harden in free agency… Let’s assume the Knicks can reach an understanding with Harden that he’s going to sign a long-term extension. In that event, the only question is whether this team makes them a better deal.
It should. Brunson’s growth in New York has been impressive. Still, Harden remains one of the very best playmakers in basketball…This is a player the Knicks can build their offense around. For once, they’ll finally have attracted a legitimate superstar. “
Barring a brutal late-season collapse, the 76ers will likely finish as a top-three seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks, who’ve made the postseason only once since 2014, are likely to lock down their second playoff berth in four years.
As long as the 76ers and Knicks remain competitive, neither front office may feel inclined to do business with a division rival. But Piercey’s trade proposal is certainly enticing, and it feels like a move that would work for both sides. At least on paper.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.