James Harden has made it clear that he loves Brooklyn, but the superstar guard and the Nets might not be bound for a long-term partnership.
For starters, Harden has a player option for the 2022-23 NBA season. The 2018 league MVP rejected an extension offer from the Nets over the offseason, but according to SNY’s Ian Begley, that was purely a financial decision.
Brooklyn very well could utilize Harden as a trade chip next summer as opposed to paying him, however. There’s probably not enough intel at present to gauge what Harden’s market might look like, but the Nets reportedly already know of one team that could be a trade partner.
“The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that the 76ers have Harden on their wish list of players they’re targeting in a Ben Simmons trade,” Begley wrote.
“Even before those reports, Nets people who would need to be aware of Harden’s future were well aware that Philadelphia loomed as a potential suitor for the guard, SNY sources say.”
Begley also notes how Daryl Morey, the 76ers president of basketball operations, tried to bring Harden to Philadelphia before Brooklyn acquired him from Houston. Morey and Harden obviously have a connection, as the former facilitated a deal for the latter between the Thunder and the Rockets.
It’s not crazy to think the Nets might go for a new look over the offseason, especially if the Kyrie Irving situation reaches a tipping point. And if that’s the case, a Harden trade could be beneficial for the present and the future.