There have been trade rumors regarding James Harden for the entire off-season. Harden opted into his $35.6 million deal for the 2023-24 season instead of testing out free agency. There are some teams who don’t need to add an extra piece, but others do. Here are some possible trade outcomes for James Harden.
- Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets and James Harden have been eyeing a potential reunion. After being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012, Harden spent his next nine seasons with the Houston Rockets.
Harden went on to average 29.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and seven assists with three seasons averaging at least 30 points a game, and eight All-Star appearances. He also went to the postseason every season.
With the Rockets winning only 22 games last season, they need to turn on the switch. The Rockets have added Fred VanVleet, Amen Thompson, and Dillon Brooks to the roster, so offense wouldn’t be an issue, but Harden needs to go to a playoff contender.
2. Los Angeles Clippers
There have been rumors that James Harden wants to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Harden would fit well with the Clippers as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George often need load management, a strategy used to help players get consistent amounts of rest.
James Harden would be that extra player to help out with load management. He’s a player who knows how to shoot the ball well and he’s playing for a playoff contender. The LA Clippers finished 44-38 last season. While people wouldn’t call it an upgrade considering the Philadelphia 76ers made it to the second round and the Clippers made it only to the first.
James Harden would also be pairing up with Russell Westbrook for the first time since they were both on the Rockets. Nonetheless, Harden would fit with the Clippers’ team and help them manage some of that tight scoring load, both in the regular season and the postseason.
3. Boston Celtics
James Harden is currently working on a trade to get out of Philadelphia, the team that the Boston Celtics beat in the 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Celtics’ issue was Jaylen Brown’s inefficiency while using his left hand to handle the ball.
James Harden is already a left-handed player as he dribbles and shoots with his left. Harden being a proficient scorer alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would help them in the postseason, especially now that Grant Williams and Marcus Smart are no longer on the team.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot of players who can shoot the ball well. They have Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and the recently acquired Guard Max Strus. These are all great shooters, but Harden’s scoring and shooting go beyond the roof.
Max Strus is a streaky shooter and that’s not to say that Harden has never had streaky performances. Indeed, he has, but he’s a more experienced player who can get himself out of a shooting slump. Harden can draw fouls and get to the free-throw line with ease.
Max Strus averaged 5.8 points with a combined shooting of 10-for-43 or 23.3 percent in the 2023 NBA Finals, two games where he didn’t make a single field goal. Rubio and Mitchell need help and they can definitely use the help when trying to score points or getting out of an opposing team’s scoring run.
James Harden is a scoring machine and a player that every team needs on their roster. Whether it’s making more three-pointers or getting each teammate an open shot, Harden is that piece. Though he has lost some of his potential, he’s still any team’s X-factor and should go to a contender.