Per Sam Amick and Shams Charania of the Athletic, the Clippers are still actively pursuing a James Harden trade with the Sixers. There are a bunch of nuggets in the piece, so I recommend reading it in full, but here are the three most important notes.
First, “And the Clippers, league sources say, are going to great lengths to make it (a Harden trade) happen”. This is legitimate news, as there hasn’t been much talk about a Harden trade in months, and there’s been some thought that with training camp having started, the Clippers might move into the season with the team they have now. That does not seem to be the case – great lengths is strong verbiage, and the “are going” makes their interest a current, ongoing matter.
Second, Amick and Shams, for the first time, seemingly pin down the Clippers offer to this point. They state that in July, the Clippers offered an unprotected first round pick (likely 2028), a pick swap, and salaries. The assumption would be they haven’t offered much different than that since then. No other information was given on salaries, but I’d guess they were a mix of the Clippers’ expiring contracts. The information was also given that the Sixers want multiple picks and “value” Terance Mann.
Lastly, “League sources say the Clippers have been talking to several teams about ways to move pick swaps for additional draft capital with the intention of bolstering their offer and getting a deal done.” That’s interesting. The Clippers have first round swaps available in 2027 and 2029, and considering how far out those are and how old the Clippers are, those have a lot of value. The Clippers could very well flip a swap for an actual, concrete first round pick (though likely not a good one), or a heap of second round picks, or even a player that Morey might value.
This was not reported in the piece, but it’s also possible the Clippers could flip their young guys for picks. I don’t know if any of Bones Hyland, Kobe Brown, or Brandon Boston Jr. have first-round value (I’d be surprised if they did), but a haul of seconds or further swaps could be obtained maybe.
In terms of timing, this could be spurred on by three things. One, Dame and Jrue are gone, so the Clippers’ options for a star upgrade are dwindling. Second, training camp has begun, and it’s best to make big deals early in the season so you can integrate new pieces. Finally, I wonder if the Clippers, with camp having started, have realized they’re in a similar place to last season, where they have too many guys. The Clippers have at least 12 if not more rotation players and simply can’t play them all – and that’s not counting young guys like Brandon Boston Jr or Kobe Brown, who they want to play. A consolidation trade is really, really needed.
For those who want a Harden deal done, this is promising news. I can’t imagine the Clippers will actually need to trade both of their firsts and Terance Mann (I would be shocked if they did, and I would absolutely not do that), but it does seem like they could conjure up another first or two from other teams, package that with their 2028 first, and get a strong enough package.
We will just have to wait and see. Give your thoughts below.