With Damian Lillard in Milwaukee and Jrue Holiday in Boston, there is just one more major domino left on the NBA’s trade market as the season approaches. James Harden remains a member of the Philadelphia 76ers despite his trade request and, by all accounts, is not being disruptive in Sixers camp as he hopes to eventually be sent to the Clippers.
The problem is, unlike Lillard, there are not any other teams out there that we know of that are interested in Harden if he were to open his request up to the entire league. That makes it difficult to get much in negotiations, and the Clippers are well aware of their position as the only real suitor for Harden’s services. As such, they are looking to split their 2028 pick into two protected picks from somewhere else, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, in an effort to get Philly a pair of picks but will not part with Terance Mann or two of their own picks in a trade.
That wasn’t the case when Portland was shopping Jrue Holiday, though, as the star defensive guard was hotly pursued by most contenders before being sent to Boston. Per Woj, the Clippers offered much more and were more aggressive in their pursuit of Holiday, but ultimately couldn’t beat the Celtics offer. That offers an understanding of how Harden is being valued right now, even by the team he claims to want to join. Part of that is the market, where Holiday was being chased by a lot of teams and Harden isn’t, but it’s also an indicator of where Holiday’s value is in relation to Harden, with contenders being much more interested in his defense and ability to mesh with other stars compared to Harden who is a superior offensive threat but has a much more domineering style on offense, requiring others to adapt to him rather than the other way around.
We’ll have to see if the Clippers splitting their pick into two from another team is enough to get Philly to budge, because as Woj and Zach Lowe note, they will feel they have time on their side here to keep evaluating and, if push comes to shove, they could set their sights on Malcolm Brogdon (who they almost acquired in a deal with Boston prior to free agency).