With the James Harden trade talks cooling down, Sirius XM’s Brian Scalabrine provided an update on how he thinks things will end up between Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The Houston Rockets entered the season with the goal of keeping James Harden with the franchise and convincing him with their play on the court that he has a legitimate chance to contend for a title with this roster. Harden has made no qualms about the fact that he wants to pursue a title elsewhere, with a reported wishlist of teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers.
The list has grown over the last several weeks, and the Rockets have also reportedly had discussions with teams that Harden didn’t have on his list, which is the right approach, as they have their sights set on what’s best for them as an organization, which isn’t always aligned with what the star player wants. Many have stated that the Rockets owe it to Harden to give him what he wants, but such a stance seems to ignore the fact that the Rockets gave him a max contract when his former Oklahoma City Thunder wouldn’t. In addition, Harden became a superstar once he stepped foot in Houston.
There haven’t been deep talks centered around the Rockets and any particular team, as they’re both canvassing the league still and trying to get him to reconsider his trade request. But in spite of that, Sirius XM’s Brian Scalabrine shed light on the situation during Monday’s episode of The Starting Lineup, sharing that Harden will eventually be traded for Ben Simmons.
“I still think Harden is going to end up in Philly. Nothing is out there, no trade where I look at this like ‘wow, that’s really good for both teams.’ I think the Philadelphia one is the one that’s the most likely.
Houston wants a dynamic player, Ben Simmons is a dynamic player. Philadelphia is going to need help offensively, especially in the half court, with the roster that they have.
That makes the most sense. I don’t know of any other place for Houston, besides Philadelphia. I love Jaylen Brown, I think he’s a stud, but I’m still going after a guy like Ben Simmons, who has the ability to make all kinds of players around him better.
They’ve even linked [Harden] to Toronto with Pascal Siakam. Siakam is a glorified role player. He’s the best of the best, he could fit in with any team and he gets his points in the mud, but you’re not doing that for James Harden.
The one guy that makes the most sense, and I would not even throw CJ McCollum into this conversation, is Ben Simmons.
All of this stuff is going to die down, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, boom, he’s going to get traded for Ben Simmons.”
Analyst predicts Houston Rockets will trade Harden to 76ers
Scalabrine previously stated that he had heard that the Rockets were willing to engage in a deal with the Brooklyn Nets that would send James Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Kyrie Irving, but such a deal appears unlikely to happen.
A deal centered around Simmons does seem to be the best deal (outside of keeping Harden in Houston), as he’s a franchise cornerstone, like what the Rockets were asking for, and Philadelphia seems to present the best opportunity to get draft picks, as Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey has publicly stated that he doesn’t exactly value draft picks or building towards the future.
All has been quiet on the Harden front as of late, but we’ll have to wait and see how soon that changes. If there is a deal that happens, Scalabrine could be right about Philadelphia being the eventual destination.