The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly ending trade talks for All-Star guard James Harden.
The team plans to being him back for training camp this upcoming season after a deal with his preferred destination, the Los Angeles Clippers, failed to materialize, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Harden has been in wait of a trade out of Philadelphia since late June, when he picked up a $35.6 million player option and the Sixers reportedly agreed to look into a deal to send him elsewhere. The former MVP was determined to join the Clippers, but talks between the two sides moved at a glacial pace.
Now, the Sixers are either hoping Harden is amenable to a return to Philadelphia or have already gotten his OK to put an end to trade talks. Either way, it’s going to be an awkward situation for a player with experience in such cases. This could be a leverage play on the Sixers’ part for all we know, but there’s a reason why his departure felt like a foregone conclusion.
Harden, a former MVP, averaged 21.0 points, 10.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game last season while shooting 44.1% from the field (38.5% from deep). He led the NBA in assists, aiding fellow star Joel Embiid‘s MVP campaign, but the playoffs saw another disappearing act.
Harden averaged 34.7 points per game in the Sixers’ three wins against the Boston Celtics in their second-round series … and 12.5 in the team’s four losses. He posted only nine points on 3-of-11 shooting with seven assists and five turnovers in a blowout Game 7 loss.
Now, because the Clippers are apparently declining to pay up, the Sixers are indicating they want to run that back. We’ll see if that works out for them, or if Harden is even up for it in the first place.