A high profile head coach is available and there is speculation a former Oklahoma City Thunder star could follow him where he goes.
The rumor, which involves James Harden and Mike D’Antoni, and originates from NBC Sports Philadelphia, may sound familiar to Wizards fans. The same connection was drawn back in 2016 when they hired Scott Brooks. Many wondered whether it would lead to Kevin Durant joining Washington in free agency.
That, of course, never happened. And the Harden-D’Antoni possibility seems even more far-fetched given Harden isn’t going to be a free agent until 2022 at the earliest and that would require him to opt out of the roughly $47 million he’s owed for the 2022-23 season.
Harden would also be 33 in 2022, so you’re talking about playing the long game for a player who could very well be past his peak by then. Philly has reason for much more urgency than that with Joel Embiid in his prime and Ben Simmons entering his.
The original report, from John Clark of NBC Sports Philly, does mention the possibility of a trade. Houston has shown no indication they want to trade Harden, but things can change quickly in the NBA. It would just cost Philly a lot, probably Simmons plus other pieces.
I’m hearing one of the reasons along with coaching that Sixers have a lot of interest in Mike D’Antoni is feeling with some in organization that he could help lure James Harden to Philly
Harden can become a free agent in 2 years and there is possibility of trade pic.twitter.com/gJVecCuhHN
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 24, 2020
D’Antoni has helped unlock Harden’s game by catering his isolation-heavy offense around him. But Harden has become so great, he will likely still be competing for scoring titles, no matter who is calling the plays.
Philly is probably better off looking for more immediate help, whether D’Antoni is holding the clipboard or not.