The James Harden era in Philadelphia has come to an end. Right before the official start of free agency in the NBA, it was reported that Harden would opt in to the final year of his contract and then work with the Philadelphia 76ers on finding a trade, specifically to the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, like Damian Lillard’s request in Portland, the Sixers chose to be patient and made clear they would let things drag on as long as needed to get the return they wanted for the former MVP. Harden, for his part, made clear he was also willing to get “uncomfortable” if needed, but despite questions about whether or not he would report, he eventually joined the team during their training camp in Colorado and was reportedly in the midst of ramping up to join the team as the regular season started to unfold.
But in a bit of good news for Harden, the deal finally got done in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reporting that the former NBA MVP is, indeed, on his way to the Clippers.
BREAKING: The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed on a trade to send guard James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers, sources tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/wAyuJKMfAw
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 31, 2023
Harden came to the Sixers at the 2022 trade deadline in a deal that saw a package centered around Ben Simmons make its way to the Brooklyn Nets. The move reunited Harden with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, as they were two of the main driving forces behind the Houston Rockets’ success in recent years.
Unfortunately for Harden, Morey, and everyone else affiliated with the Sixers, Philadelphia was unable to break through the ceiling that has been on the team for some time: the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In 2022, the team lost in six games to the Miami Heat, and one year later, the Sixers couldn’t capitalize on a 3-2 series lead over the Boston Celtics. While he had several good games in the series against Boston, Harden was a frequent target for criticism in both series.
It is unclear what the long-term future for Harden holds, as he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2023-24 season.