Former NBA Champion Set to Play a Key Role in James Harden’s Likely Move to Heat, Per Sources

Published 10/21/2023, 3:42 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

The Philadelphia 76ers find themselves in a very tricky spot, as their star player James Harden looks to force a trade away. Initially, Harden reported late to the Sixers training camp at the University of Colorado. But, Harden skipped 76ers practice for the second successive day over a pay dispute with the Sixers’ front office. Harden is holding out for a move to the Los Angeles Clippers, but the 76ers aren’t content with the proposal that the Clippers have presented.

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This has presented a window of opportunity for other teams like the Heat and the Bulls to swoop in for Harden. A former NBA champion might have a significant impact on the Heat’s pursuit of Harden.

Kyle Lowry Key to Heat’s Offer for Harden

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The Bucks and Celtics are two clear front-runners in the Eastern Conference for a shot at the NBA title. Bucks’ acquisition of Damian Lillard and the Celtics, adding Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis, has established a noticeable gap between them and their competitors in the pursuit of an NBA championship. The Miami Heat, last season’s NBA finalist needs to add further star power in order to compete with the Bucks and Celtics.

Harden has skipped 76ers practice for the second consecutive day. This has led to him being ruled out for the Sixers’ last preseason game against the Atlanta Hawks. Coach Nick Nurse said, “I think the organization has made it clear what’s going on. They’re working on stuff, as we say, day by day. We had a really good practice today. Very energetic. The guys that were here, that’s what we’re focused on”. 

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According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Heat might include Raptors’ legend Kyle Lowry in a trade for the ‘Beard’. Lowry has prior working experience with current Sixers head coach Nick Nurse. The duo won the 2019 NBA title with the Raptors. Lowry also has a $29.6 million dollar expiring contract, which the 76ers could flip for a few picks or a quality young player.

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What Does the Future Hold for Harden?

The Clippers remain the favorites, as that is the preferred destination of Harden. The Sixers are interested in acquiring 27-year-old wingman Terence Mann, but the Clippers view him as off-limits and untouchable. With the new NBA season right around the corner, both teams need to come to an agreement.

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Should the Clippers hesitate, other teams like the Heat could seize the chance to secure Harden. The Heat have the trade capital that can entice the Sixers hierarchy and they also have the roster that will give Harden a chance to compete for the NBA title. With the NBA season on the verge of commencement, the resolution of Harden’s future could become evident sooner rather than later.

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Written by:

Dushyant Singh

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Dushyant Singh is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. His basketball script journey began in 2020 when he was captivated by the Los Angeles Lakers’ triumphant NBA championship win. Before that he was merely dribbling and dunking as a boy next door.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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