Laying out a trade package for James Harden
There are a few different ways that a trade could be built between the two teams. One construction would swap Harden for Pascal Siakam, exchanging one expiring deal for another and allowing Toronto to alleviate their logjam at power forward by adding an on-ball guard. Would Toronto give up a franchise icon for a rental? And would Philadelphia want to play this same game in a year? Probably not on both accounts.
The 76ers probably pitch a deal where they get back Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby, which makes all the sense in the world for Philly but completely misses the fact that Harden was essentially a free agent opting into his deal for a trade. It’s not quite the same as the Kristaps Porzingis deal, as he maintained his leverage down to the wire, but the Sixers aren’t getting a king’s ransom back for an expiring Harden.
The sweet spot, then, might be a deal like this:
Philadelphia will need another perimeter player to support Tyrese Maxey, and Gary Trent Jr. can either start at the shooting guard spot or come off the bench behind De’Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris. Otto Porter Jr. has been frequently injured, but he’s also just one calendar year removed from starting NBA Finals games. Boucher is insurance to let Paul Reed walk.
It’s not the haul they would want, but it’s also better than nothing if Harden were to walk in free agency simply. This allows a middle road to stay competitive and have moveable contracts to pivot at the trade deadline.
If Philly would say yes…would Toronto?