James Harden Trade Rumors: Nets 'Well Aware' of 76ers as Potential Suitor for Star

Adam WellsDecember 2, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) during first half NBA action against New York Knicks, Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

As James Harden has started to turn his season around, the Brooklyn Nets are keeping an eye on a division rival that would like to add the 2017-18 NBA MVP. 

Per SNY's Ian Begley, Nets people are "well aware" that the Philadelphia 76ers have been looming as a potential suitor for Harden if he doesn't re-sign with the team next summer. 

Last month, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the 76ers are looking at the possibility of acquiring Harden during the offseason. 

Harden opted not to sign an extension before the Oct. 18 deadline, but he said the Nets have "nothing to worry about" and made it clear there was nothing suggestive about that decision. 

"Honestly, I'm just focused on getting healthy, getting my body right and then preparing for a great season," Harden told reporters after the season-opening loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Oct. 19. "The contract, the money is going to be there."

The nine-time All-Star has a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. 

According to Pompey, there are people in the Sixers front office who are "keen on the idea" of keeping Ben Simmons this season and using him in a potential sign-and-trade deal for Harden in the summer. 

Philadelphia aggressively pursued Harden in a trade with the Houston Rockets last season. Pompey reported in January that the Sixers even thought a deal was done, to the point the agents for Simmons and Matisse Thybulle informed their clients to expect a trade. 

Instead, the Rockets sent Harden to the Nets in a four-team deal that also included the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Simmons has yet to play for the Sixers this season. He has remained away from the team after noting he doesn't feel mentally ready to play in games. 

Harden is averaging 21.0 points, 9.3 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game in 21 starts for the Nets this season.