LA Clippers: Will lackadaisical approach for James Harden burn them in the end?

Harden and Tucker (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Harden and Tucker (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

The LA Clippers seem to be taking a lackadaisical approach when it comes to pursuing James Harden, but will that burn them in the end as it did the Miami Heat? 

The start of the 2023-24 NBA regular season is a couple of weeks away, but the James Harden trade saga is still very much unresolved. However, the hope is that it will be resolved soon. Even though Harden has reported and participated in training camp, it’s been reported that he still very much wants to be traded – and preferably to the LA Clippers.

While the Clippers may still be interested in acquiring Harden, they’re in a spot where they believe they don’t have to be overly aggressive in their pursuits. The Clippers appear to be sticking to their offer and because of the reported lack of trade market for Harden, don’t feel a need to go all-in with their trade chips at this time.

The question is, will this end up being a mistake?

The LA Clippers are embracing a similar approach that the Miami Heat did with Damian Lillard

If we can believe everything that was reported in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, we come to believe that the Miami Heat, for the most part, stuck to their guns. They made an offer and weren’t really moving to flip off it.

In the end, we realized that might’ve hurt the Heat’s chances of making a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Maybe the Blazers wouldn’t have done a deal with the Heat anyway, but if that’s the attitude that the Heat had, it certainly couldn’t have helped.

At least from the outside looking in, that might be the approach that the Clippers are taking. Especially if the recent reports are accurate that the Clippers want a deal to get done soon, but also don’t want to improve their offer to the Sixers.

That sounds a lot like what Miami was trying to do with the Blazers. In the end, it didn’t work out for the Heat. In fact, it worked out terribly for the Heat. I can’t help but wonder if that eventual fate could be awaiting the Clippers if they don’t change their efforts toward landing Harden.

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It feels like the Clippers don’t believe they NEED Harden. Time will only tell if that will end up being a mistake, or if they land Harden in the end. But there’s no question that this is one risky game to play. And one team already got burned this offseason playing it.