A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Harden trade.
On Jan. 31, a massive trade that could shake up the NBA took place. James Harden finally left the Philadelphia 76ers for the Los Angeles Clippers. While it’s a superstar move, it’s a little less shocking. That’s because Harden had been asking to join the Clippers all summer long. So Harden’s move to the Clippers was a matter of timing, but the trade itself wasn’t a surprise.
What is surprising about the Harden trade is the timing. The NBA is nearly two weeks into the season. We’re not even a tenth of the way through the season, but the teams are out and running. This is where the big trade comes in. Usually, we don’t hear about trades in the NBA until the season starts or after the trade deadline in February. It’s extremely rare for a trade to be finalized four or five games into the season, like the Harden trade.
The reason for this is that as time goes on, it’s the acquiring team that is in a hurry, so the sending team may want to drag out the deadline as long as possible to get more for their player. As the trade deadline approaches, there is also a scramble to avoid losing good players to rival teams. For the sending team, it’s a losing battle.
Another reason why trades are made before the start of the season is because you want to get the team up to speed as soon as possible. If you’re on the receiving end of a trade, you’ll want to get up to speed as soon as possible. That’s why teams often make their best offer before the season starts, and if it’s rejected, they keep the player until the trade deadline.
In the case of the somewhat curious Harden trade, it was the owner. According to local media, it was not the general managers of the two teams who negotiated the Harden trade. The owner of Philadelphia took it upon himself to negotiate the Harden trade.
Harden crossed an unbridgeable river with Philadelphia owner Daryl Morey by giving an interview in which he sniped at him. The two, who had been a soul mate during their time with the Houston Rockets, had entered a catastrophic state. This summer, Harden waived his free agency rights, exercised his player option, signed a one-year deal, and asked Morey to trade him to the Clippers, and reportedly got his word. However, Mori told him that it wasn’t possible unless the Clippers gave him a good deal, and Harden refused to practice and play for the team, claiming that the promise had been broken.
When a superstar of Harden’s stature goes off the rails, it’s not a good thing for the team. To make matters worse, Philadelphia star Joel Embiid gave an interview in which he said he understood Harden. It was clear that the team’s mood would only get worse. Nevertheless, Mori stood firm. He declared that there would be no Harden trade unless the Clippers paid the price he wanted. The 2023-2024 season opened with the same catastrophe, and Harden’s situation remained the same. Eventually, the owners overrode Mori and made the Harden trade happen.
This is not the time in the NBA for owners to interfere with team operations. With the exception of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, team management is 사설토토 largely in the hands of talented executives. Kuban has hired professional managers to run the team, and he’s kept his hands off as much as possible. Of course, the owner does make major decisions, but he rarely gets involved in trade negotiations.
Mori’s assertiveness has created a somewhat unusual case. Harden and Morey, who were soul mates during their time in Houston, parted ways in a terrible way.