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James Harden Trade Rumors: Nets Prepared Offer for Rockets; 76ers a Finalist

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

James Harden of the Houston Rockets reacts to a basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Houston, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are "sifting through offers on a potential James Harden deal from two teams—the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers—that could culminate quickly," according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. 

Per that report, the Nets offer is built around "all of their four future first-round picks and three future pick swaps."

The Rockets have also pursued a potential package with the Sixers that's centered around young star Ben Simmons, with second-year guard Matisse Thybulle also being discussed in packages.

Marc Stein of the New York Times, meanwhile, reported it would be Simmons and Tyrese Maxey highlighting the deal, though Philly is trying to hold on to Maxey:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Houston is increasingly determined to complete a James Harden trade as soon as today, league sources say, and has chased the promising Maxey in addition to Simmons Philly is known to covet Houston's PJ Tucker in addition to Harden while the Nets have also remained in pursuit

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Sixers, league sources say, are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation) to offer Houston to keep Tyrese Maxey out of a potential James Harden trade, league sources say

Charania and Amick reported that the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors "have also expressed interest at points" in Harden. 

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

Teams involved in James Harden talks getting indications Rockets are preparing to move quickly towards a deal, league sources told @SInow —possibly as soon as today.

The 31-year-old superstar came about as close as a player could come to publicly demanding a trade after Tuesday's 117-100 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers during his postgame press conference. 

"We're not even close, honestly, to that team—obviously the defending champions—and all the other elite teams out there," Harden told reporters. "I mean, you can tell the difference in these last two games. We're just not good enough—chemistry, talentwise, just everything. And it was clear these last two games."

Then he delivered the gut punch.

"I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can," he said. "I mean, this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."

Based on reports Wednesday, Tuesday's game will almost assuredly be Harden's last one in a Rockets uniform:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The Rockets are planning to keep Harden away until a trade is done --- with front office weighing best final offers from Brooklyn and Philadelphia, sources tell @ramonashelburne and me. Process is moving quickly now. https://t.co/YDZkAKcG5d

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Houston's talks with Sixers and Nets gathered momentum in recent days -- even before James Harden's news conference on Tuesday night, sources tell @ramonashelburne and me.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

I talked to a team that isn't involved in the Harden talks, but has been involved as a potential third team in and they said "It's probably done today or tomorrow. It really feels like the Rockets are ready to move and so are Nets and Sixers. Season is moving fast this year."

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

I just talked to another team that was part of the Harden trade talks as a third-team in and they were told within the last hour "It's far enough down the road, that we don't need you involved now." I take that to mean things are getting really close now.

Harden has struggled in his last five games, averaging just 17.4 points while shooting 37.8 percent from the field and 25.6 percent from three. He's clearly unhappy, and it doesn't help that he appears to have come into the season above his normal playing weight. 

A trade always felt inevitable, but now it seems imminent. Harden's time in Houston is over. The only question left to answer is where he'll be playing next, as fans in Brooklyn and Philadelphia eagerly await the answer. 

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