Patrick Beverley recently acknowledged that James Harden’s presence on the Philadelphia 76ers roster influenced his decision to join the team.
“Players are here to play, and that decision is definitely above my pay grade, but you can’t redo a James Harden,” Beverley explained. “Of course, you want him here. You definitely want him in the locker room. You want him on the first day of practice. One of the reasons I came here was to see James Harden. So I’m hoping he stays. I hope that everyone can sort of figure stuff out, put it behind us, and go on. “I believe it is significant.”
The Sixers have one of the top pick-and-roll duos in the NBA in Joel Embiid and James Harden. Daryl Morey has also spent the last year building a team that complements the duo’s abilities. Other free agents are drawn to their presence on the roster. Players desire to play alongside the current MVP and a past MVP.
Harden, on the other hand, wants out for whatever reason. The issue is that neither team appears to be prepared to part with the assets required to acquire the aging guard. Yes, Harden is an exceptional NBA guard, but his age, deteriorating skill set, and propensity for jumping ship have all contributed to his trade value plummeting. Why would a team part up draft picks and key players for someone who may want to leave in 18 months?
Harden is a favorite of Morey’s. Morey climbed mountains when he originally took over as Sixers GM to bring Harden to the City of Brotherly Love. Morey would also warmly welcome Harden back into the fold. If another GM was as obsessed with Harden as Morey, a move would have already taken place. Harden was popular in Houston and is now popular in Philadelphia.
Although he may want to try his luck elsewhere in the league, Harden’s best chance of earning a championship next season may be in Philadelphia.