As the Philadelphia 76ers continue to navigate the waters to find a potential trade partner for All-Star guard Ben Simmons, one name that's popped up as a target recently is Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden. It was recently reported that Harden may not be happy in Brooklyn, and is interested in exploring other options outside of the Nets this summer when his contract ends, per Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer. Harden disputed the report, and the Nets have said they won't listen to trade offers on the star guard, but that hasn't stopped opposing teams around the league from raising their suspicions.
That rumor has reportedly led some front office executives around the league to believe that Harden and the Sixers are already discussing the potential of bringing the former league MVP to Philadelphia, per Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. Which, if true would be considered tampering. If Harden does sign with the Sixers this summer, rival teams would consider reaching out to the league to investigate the deal for tampering, per Haynes.
Joining the Sixers would reunite Harden with general manager Daryl Morey from their time in Houston, and the All-Star guard is also friends with team co-owner Michael Rubin, per Haynes. This is why opposing teams are on high alert with this situation.
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It would be difficult for the Sixers to pull off a trade to bring Harden to Philadelphia, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Though Harden said "If you don't hear it from me, then it's reports," in regards to him wanting out of Brooklyn, he did admit to being frustrated with the team's current situation. Kevin Durant is sidelined for at least a month due to an MCL sprain, and Kyrie Irving can only play in road games due to his unvaccinated status barring him from playing inside Barclays Center. Couple that with the fact that the Nets' have gone 9-11 over their last 20 games, and you can understand why Harden is frustrated. But those frustrations could all be resolved if Brooklyn starts winning again, especially if they win a title at the end of this season.
However, the Nets are sputtering right now, and teams like the 76ers are taking notice and hoping that Harden could be pried away this summer.