Houston Rockets: 3 Trades that would land James Harden on the 76ers

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Joel Embiid (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

3. Harden for Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson

*Note: The Ringer’s Bill Simmons recently discussed this scenario in his latest podcast episode.

The rumors are that the Sixers want to pair James Harden with Joel Embiid, but to do so, they would hire Mike D’Antoni. When was the last time D’Antoni did something conventional? Let’s say he comes in and he says he wants Simmons to play center, to be his Amar’e Stoudemire, and that he doesn’t need Joel Embiid if he’s going to get Harden. Would that shock anyone?

A backcourt of Simmons and Harden is very similar to a backcourt of Harden and Westbrook, except that Simmons is actually the size of most NBA centers.

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The Sixers might be mad to move Embiid, but swapping him for Harden plus ridding of Richardson for salary purposes might make the most sense.

The Sixers already have a true center in Al Horford and might believe a closing lineup of Simmons, Harden, Horford, Harris, and Shake Milton could be dangerous on both ends of the court.

Would the Rockets entertain a swap of Embiid for Harden?

The Rockets said they want to play small, but adding Embiid would blow those plans up. However, Westbrook and Embiid in the pick and roll could be deadly, and the Rockets’ defense would instantly become one of the best in the league.

Embiid is a defensive anchor and surrounded by Covington and Tucker, the Rockets would be tough to score on.

Would the Rockets have enough shooting to space the floor for Westbrook and Embiid? If Danuel House and Ben McLemore feature prominently, they could help ease those concerns. The wild card for the Rockets would be whether or not Covington rediscovers his 3-point stroke.

All of these trades are crazy, but the Rockets and the Sixers are two franchises that feel stuck, and when teams feel stuck, they try to shake things up.

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Trading Harden out of Houston would hurt, but the present isn’t bright as is, and five years down the line, the Rockets could be in serious trouble as their roster ages and their picks continue to go to Oklahoma City. If the Sixers come calling, Daryl Morey should listen.