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July 02, 2023

NBA rumors: 'More than conceivable' that James Harden could remain in Philadelphia

Could James Harden actually stay with the Sixers? Here's the last NBA rumor on what comes next for the future Hall of Fame guard.

Well, it might be a long summer. Speaking on SportsCenter on Sunday morning, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski gave an update on the James Harden situation, saying that it's "more than conceivable" that Harden could remain in Philadelphia, at least through training camp, as his trade market gets settled. 

Here's a video clip of of Wojnarowski's conversation with SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm with a transcription to follow:

The report...

Storm: Is it conceivable that nothing's going to happen, that we're going to talk about this all summer long and when training camp starts, he'll be in that same uniform?

Wojnarowski: It's more than conceivable, Hannah. That's been Daryl Morey's track record of not just giving away an asset and they do have time on their side in the offseason, but they'll be engaged with teams and I do think that with [Damian] Lillard being on the market, in one aspect, it can make it harder for Philly if teams are prioritizing a Damian Lillard trade. There might be a way the multi-team deal allows all of them to get what they want. Those typically don't come together very quickly.

So much for the assumption that this Harden had played his last game in a Sixers uniform!

It's all about leverage. Daryl Morey wants to fight for the best possible Harden trade, squeezing every ounce of value out of the move to maximize Joel Embiid's championship window. 

That leverage play is the exact front office strategy that landed Harden in Philly in the first place. Morey was more than willing to let Ben Simmons sit out the start of the 2021-22 season hoping for the best return possible, which resulted in the Nets shipping Harden to the Sixers for Simmons and a few other players and picks. The main difference in these situations, however, is that Simmons had several years of team control remaining on his contract. Harden is an unrestricted free agent after this season. There's a point of diminishing returns from whatever team acquires Harden the more this gets drawn out. 

I understand why Morey is doing this, but the longer Harden remains a Sixer, the more it will be sure to infuriate people around the Delaware Valley. This is not the Harden update they were hoping for this weekend while hanging out at some BBQ and grilling up hot dogs. 

Stay tuned to PhillyVoice for the latest Harden updates...

MORE: The Latest Sixers Intel Reporting

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