Trade talks related to Houston Rockets James Harden are said to be extending beyond his preferred teams of the 76ers and Nets.
Several playoff-caliber teams in the Eastern and Western conferences have told ESPN that they’re finding increased comfort in committing high-level trade assets in talks to acquire Harden. The Rockets have ongoing discussions on several fronts and have been communicating with Harden about those scenarios, sources said.
Several teams told ESPN that they’re feeling less inhibited about trading for Harden without an assurance that he’d re-sign once he can become a free agent in two years.
The Nets (3-1 to land Harden) are limited by the Rockets’ interest in their personnel, and likely would need a third team to emerge in talks, sources told ESPN. The Sixers (5-1) are nowhere close to a deal as of yet.
The Miami Heat have been the favorites (+250) to acquire Harden.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said this week, “Once we got Jimmy, with our player development in Bam and the rest of the young guys, we felt we had a very special team…We feel a great responsibility for Jimmy to win now, instead of pushing this thing down the line.”
Harden, a three-time scoring champion and the 2018 NBA MVP, did not report to Houston until Dec. 8 — two days after the Rockets began team practices.
– Mary Montgomery, Gambling911.com