NBA Trade Rumors: Sixers to call James Harden’s bluff, bring him to training camp

Philadelphia 76ers James Harden (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers James Harden (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA Trade Rumors: The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly going to call James Harden’s bluff and carry him onto the roster heading into training camp.

Before the start of free agency, James Harden reportedly informed the Philadelphia 76ers that he wanted a trade to the LA Clippers. Instead of opting out of the final year of his contract to pursue other offers in free agency, Harden opting-in with hopes that the Sixers would do him right and facilitate a deal to the Clippers. Six weeks later, that hasn’t happened. Because of that, the Sixers have been left with a huge decision.

In a vacuum, they could either trade Harden for an underwhelming offer that would completely end their outside chance of competing for a championship this season, or they could call Harden’s bluff and not trade him.

Less than two months away from the start of training camp, it seems like we have our answer for now. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have decided that they aren’t going to trade Harden and that they’re going to carry him on the roster when training camp opens.

Woj adds to the report that Harden has been emphatic about wanting a trade and that they are going to create an “uncomfortable situation” to start camp.

Of course, the Sixers are banking on the team’s ability to convince Harden to stick around for one more season. Philadelphia clearly thinks they have a good shot to win a championship this season with Harden on the roster. Even though Harden is beyond his prime at this point in his career, it’s pretty clear that he gives the Sixers the best chance to maximize Joel Embiid’s prime.

Trading Harden, for what would be pennies on the dollar, would essentially throw away a year of Embiid’s prime. Coming off an NBA MVP season, that’s the last thing that the Sixers would like to do.

What will be James Harden’s next move?

But, again, this is a high-stakes move. Interestingly, this is what the Houston Rockets did with Harden back in 2021. He lasted less than two months before he was eventually traded to the Brooklyn Nets. During that season with the Rockets, he only played in eight games. He also famously reported to training camp late.

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You can’t help but wonder what Harden’s next move ends up being. Will he follow a similar script to try to force his way out of Philadelphia? Only time will tell. But this is certainly an interesting development in the Harden sweepstakes.