The Philadelphia 76ers’ four-month standoff with James Harden ended in the most inevitable way possible on Tuesday morning when the disgruntled former MVP was reportedly dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
If you were a Celtics fan worried about the Sixers landing an impact player to immediately pair with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, then revel in the collection of overpriced seventh men the Sixers have added in Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, and Nic Batum.
Philadelphia remains a Tier 2 team in the East while crossing their fingers on a heavy dose of Kelly Oubre and Contract Year Tobias Harris.
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The Sixers must decide now if they want to wait until the summer to splurge on a lukewarm free agent crop, or use their new draft capital to hastily acquire a shiny new toy. Rival teams should be readying their Joel Embiid trade packages for whenever the reigning MVP decides he’s had enough of Philadelphia’s inability to put the best pieces around him.
The Clippers, who seemed to cool on the idea of acquiring Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon after Harden landed on Facebook Marketplace, finally landed the defense-averse guard they truly craved. Celtics fans concerned about the potential for the Clippers to be a legit contender after adding another aging former MVP will be relieved to learn it’s 2023.
Unless Steve Ballmer’s next splurge is on a time machine, the Clippers are still steamrolling toward a second-round playoff exit in the loaded Western Conference. A $100 million tax payment awaits this summer before the team can move its nursing home squad into a new $1.2 billion arena. Clippers fans should be eager to spend big money to watch a roster still operating on Windows 95.
The Celtics, with help from their offseason maneuvering, still sit comfortably on a tier above teams like the Sixers. Boston should be intrigued by any roster maneuvering around the league with the possibility of eventually beefing up their own deep depth, particularly at the big-man spot. But the Celtics should feel good about the early returns from their top six amid a 3-0 start.
Tuesday’s swap doesn’t immediately change the landscape of the East or, ahem, harden Boston’s path to the title stage.