James Harden gets his wish, sent to the Clippers in a massive trade

Sports mirrors life in that there is a sucker born every minute and the latest notable NBA transaction is a testament to that axiom. The Philadelphia 76ers have sent disgruntled guard James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers in a blockbuster deal.

from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

The LA Clippers acquired 10-time All-Star guard James Harden in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, sources told ESPN.

The 76ers sent Harden, P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusevto the Clippers for Marcus MorrisRobert CovingtonNic BatumKJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected first-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap and an additional first-round pick that’ll be routed from a third team, sources told ESPN.

The Clippers and a third team were still finalizing those details late Monday night, sources said.

The Sixers will waive veteran guard Danny Green to create the roster space for the trade, sources said.

The Clippers landed Harden to partner with All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as well as guard Russell Westbrook, who played with Harden on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets. The Clippers and Sixers have been discussing a Harden trade since July, and they finally completed an agreement in the late hours of Monday night.

The Clippers and 76ers began talking again on a trade over the weekend as it became increasingly untenable for Harden to be incorporated back into the Sixers’ lineup, sources said.

The Sixers had wanted to get two first-round picks out of a Harden trade and believe that those assets — coupled with the second-round picks and a pick swap — give them a chance to pursue another high-level guard in a trade to partner with MVP Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey this season. As for the Clippers, they keep versatile fifth-year guard Terance Mann, who has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle.

Harden is “ecstatic” to be going to the Clippers and hoping to fly to Los Angeles as soon as possible, sources close to him told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. There’s a chance he will attend Tuesday night’s Clippers home game against the Orlando Magic.

Harden, 34, requested a trade out of Philadelphia in June when he opted in to his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. During a promotional appearance in China in August, he called 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “a liar”multiple times, and Harden acknowledged earlier this month upon rejoining the team that their relationship was irreparable.

Harden had yet to play for Philadelphia this season, though he was on the bench with his teammates during Sunday’s game, wearing jeans and a green hoodie, after participating in the 76ers’ pregame walk-through and video session. He was expected to take part in Tuesday’s practice at the team’s Camden, New Jersey, facility.

Harden, who grew up in Southern California and starred at Artesia High School in Lakewood, had expressed a desire to be traded to the Clippers. The guard is just the latest Southern California product to play at home for the Clippers.

Leonard, who is from Moreno Valley and played at Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, and George, who grew up in Palmdale and played at Knight High School, decided to team up on the Clippers during the summer of 2019. The Clippers signed Leonard as a free agent and traded four future unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-rounder and two pick swaps along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari for George.

The Clippers also signed Westbrook, who played at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale before starring at UCLA, as a free agent during the All-Star break, after the point guard was bought out of his contract with Utah following a trade from the Lakers.

Harden has been one of the league’s top players for the past decade, winning three scoring titles and the 2018 league MVP award. He led the league in assists last season.

In Harden, Westbrook and George, the Clippers now have three of the top six active players in points scored among those who have never won a title, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. With those three surrounding Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, the Clippers hope to win the first NBA championship in franchise history.

The Clippers (2-1) start a back-to-back set in Los Angeles against the Magic on Tuesday before facing the Lakers on Wednesday. The Clippers have four days off after that back-to-back for coach Tyronn Lue to incorporate Harden and Tucker before opening a three-game road trip in New York against the Knickson Monday.

On that road trip, Harden could play his former Netsteam in Brooklyn on Wednesday before the Clippers finish the swing at Dallas next Friday.

ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.

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