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2021 NBA championship contenders that need to trade for James Harden not named Nets, Sixers

James Harden, Rockets

With a week left before the start of the 2020-21 season, the Houston Rockets still face a dark cloud of uncertainty with their superstar, James Harden.

The Beard has already made public his desire to play elsewhere, initially citing Eastern Conference contenders Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets as his top two preferred destinations.

Parting ways with a franchise player is never an easy thing to do. The Rockets are frantically trying to repair the bridge between them and their disgruntled MVP. But judging by the recent events that transpired between Harden and the team looks, it looks like a messy breakup is inevitable.

Harden’s camp is reportedly in love with the idea of moving to Brooklyn to form a three-headed monster with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The idea of reuniting with Rockets former GM Daryl Morey in Philadelphia has also been teased.

While Harden certainly can’t go wrong with those two franchises, all of the other 28 teams in the league would ideally love to have him on their respective rosters.  The Rockets, however, have not made it easy for all potential suitors and is reportedly seeking a steep price for him.

Let’s list three other NBA contenders who should make a run for Harden, in the event that Houston puts him in the market.

James Harden to the Miami Heat

It’s no surprise that South Beach was also recently added to Harden’s choices. The Heat are coming off an NBA Finals appearance, while the busy Miami nightlife scene certainly fits Harden’s lifestyle.

This potential move even got the approval of Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, who recently liked a post about a rumored Heat-Rockets swap. The Heat are no strangers to these kinds of shockers, especially with the legendary Pat Riley pulling the strings.

The tricky part for Miami, however, would be to come up with a mammoth package for the 30-year-old star. Houston has made it clear that they want another All-Star-caliber player in return to even consider parting ways with Harden.

The Heat have two players who fall in this category, but it’s highly unlikely they will consider this scenario.

Jimmy Butler is practically untouchable, while they just gave Bam Adebayo a $163 million extension.

However, several reports have claimed that Miami will entertain talks involving Tyler Herro if acquiring Harden is on the table. While the promising 20-year-old sniper is nowhere near Harden’s level just yet, he would give Houston a young guy to build around with. A package involving Herro, some role players (to even salaries), and a couple of draft picks could do the trick.

The Beard to the Milwaukee Bucks

James Harden is also reportedly open to joining another Eastern Conference powerhouse in the Milwaukee Bucks. Obviously, the plan is to team up with two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee will practically hit two birds with one stone if it can pull off this deal. Apart from adding another MVP-caliber player to bolster their title chances, it might also entice Giannis to stay now that he has more help.

The Bucks actually have several intriguing assets to bargain with in hopes of landing Harden.

All potential deals will certainly revolve around Khris Middelton, while Brook Lopez is another player the Rockets would love to have.

Guys like Donte DiVincenzo, Pat Connaughton, and DJ Wilson have recently increased their stocks as well and should be made available as fillers.

The Bucks would likely have no qualms giving up draft picks, given that they’ll be in win-now mode with the Greek Freak and The Beard on the same team.

James Harden with the Los Angeles Clippers

Harden somehow moving to LA to join the Clippers sounds as far-fetched as they come. Then again, we’ve seen crazier things happen this year, so who knows?

The rumblings have gained traction over the last few days, even with Paul George signing a $193 million extension with the Clips. The Paul George-Kawhi Leonard tandem hasn’t exactly lived up to the lofty standards, leading some pundits to believe that maybe the Clips would be better off pairing The Klaw with another superstar. But for that to happen, they must make room by trading away PG13.

Given George’s struggles in the playoffs last season, Harden would be a considerable upgrade for the Clips. Salary wise, this makes the most sense and could probably be done with a simple superstar swap. The Clippers could also throw-in Patrick Beverley for good measure, who already has some experience playing in H-Town.

The best course of action for both squads, however, is to test how both players will fare at the beginning of the 2020-21 season. If James Harden continues to exhibit behavior detrimental to the Rockets, then by all means they should move on from him. If George doesn’t live up to his huge contract and continue being Pandemic P, then the Clippers might as well try to flip him for Harden, if given the opportunity.

The post 2021 NBA championship contenders that need to trade for James Harden not named Nets, Sixers appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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