How James Harden went to Los Angeles

John Divuolo
Staff Writer

Coming into this NBA regular season, one of the biggest headlines was what James Harden’s future with the Philadelphia 76ers would look like. Harden had requested a trade from the 76ers this past offseason due to a public dispute with general manager Daryl Morey who Harden had played under both with Philadelphia and the Houston Rockets. Philadelphia had not traded Harden during the offseason unlike the Portland Trail Blazers who traded their star point guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks after he requested a trade from the organization he had spent his entire career with. But, Harden finally got his request when Philadelphia decided to trade him to the Los Angeles Clippers a week into the season.

Daryl Morey who brought Harden to both Houston and Philadelphia (Bill Baptist/NBA via Getty Images)

James Harden getting traded to the Clippers is one of the most influential trades in the entire league over the past year. Harden had reportedly targeted LA and their star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as well as Harden’s two-time teammate Russell Westbrook over the summer but when a deal didn’t happen in the offseason not many expected Harden to end up in LA this season if he was traded out of Philadelphia at all. So, it was a shock to many when the Clippers finally put the right package together to pry Harden from the 76ers.
The trade consisted of James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Filip Petrusuv going to the Clippers for Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, RJ Martin, a first round pick, two second round picks, and a pick swap. With Harden in Los Angeles, this makes the starting five Westbrook at point guard, Harden at shooting guard, George at small forward Leonard at power forward, and Ivica Zubac at center.
Harden and Westbrook’s careers have intertwined twice before. They were both drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder to form a big three with Kevin Durant during an era in the NBA where big three’s were just starting to become popular around the league. Harden would become the player we know today when he left OKC for the Houston Rockets and he became one of the best players in the NBA as well as an MVP winner. He would be joined a few seasons later by Westbrook after Harden spent some time with

Harden and Westbrook together during their time with the Houston Rockets (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle)

another future Hall of Fame guard in Chris Paul and Oklahoma City decided to tear down its long-time roster and build around Shai-Gilgeous Alexander after Paul spent a season there and showed Oklahoma City could still be competitive without Durant, Harden, and Westbrook. Now, with Harden going to LA, Harden and Westbrook are still striving for their first NBA titles on their third team together.
This starting five has potential to make a deep playoff run in the NBA playoffs and has potential to go win a championship. With the depth on this team with PJ Tucker, Mason Plumlee, Bones Hyland, and Norman Powell, this team is dangerous. Last year without Harden and Tucker, the Clippers still made it to the postseason and lost in the first round to the Phoenix Suns without George and with Leonard getting injured during the Phoenix series. With James Harden, they now have a top tier shooting guard who will be able to make those clutch shots and hopefully bring them far into the playoffs. James Harden will definitely positively impact this team and the Clippers should be excited for what’s to come in this season of basketball.

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