Raptors must resist James Harden temptation as drama ensues

James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers and Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers and Gary Trent Jr., Toronto Raptors. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images /

The Toronto Raptors are embroiled in the middle of a lawsuit and multiple trade rumor sagas surrounding star players like Pascal Siakam, and they still might not be as soaked in drama and nonsense as the Philadelphia 76ers. James Harden is to thank for making Nick Nurse’s debut offseason so rocky.

Harden has been fined for his very public calling out of 76ers executive Daryl Morey, calling him a “liar” after refusing to trade him away. The Los Angeles Clippers seemed like an ideal destination for him, but the two parties have found it difficult to agree on compensation for such a huge deal.

Toronto had every chance possible to blow up this roster, and they chose not to do so. This alleged desire to compete this season could be supercharged if they make a win-now move like trading for Harden, especially since he appears to be more willing to play for a non-Clippers team.

With one year left on his contract, could the Raptors try to reboot the roster by making a move for Harden (all while getting a more natural point guard at the same time)? While he would bring a certain edge on the offensive side of the ball, is he really what this team needs right now?

Toronto Raptors must refuse James Harden trade rumors

While Harden is one of the more eminently mockable players in the league due to his propensity for giving up on his team and postseason struggles, he led the league in assists per game last season while remaining one of the better scoring guards this league has on show.

Due to Harden’s bombast hurting his value, a team like Toronto would be able to pick him up without giving up a ton of draft capital. The Raptors might need to get a third team involved, but they could make the money work. However, being able to do something shouldn’t always precede actually consummating the act.

The Raptors would essentially take a sledgehammer to their roster to accommodate an impending free agent with injury problems, commitment issues, a penchant to ball hog that makes Fred VanVleet look like John Stockton, and a history of playing poorly in the postseason. Why would Darko Rajakovic sign up for any of that in such a pivotal season?

The basketball reasons are concerning enough, but Harden’s antics have to be the main reason to stay away. If the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and Harden has quit on three different teams in his last three seasons, why wouldn’t he consider doing the same in Toronto?

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