He did it! The King of Trade Demands has won again. Not only did he get traded. Not only did he keep his word and not play another game for Darryl Morey. He got traded to exactly where he wanted to go. James Harden has played the game exactly how he needed to play it. Let’s dissect the trade and see how it will afffect your fantasy basketball season.
James Harden Trade Summary
LA Clippers Get:
James Harden, PJ Tucker, Filip Petrusev
Philadelphia 76ers Get:
Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nic Batum, KJ Martin, a 2028 unprotected 1st-round pick, two second-round picks, a 2029 pick swap, and an additional first-round pick that’ll be routed from a third team.
James Harden’s Fantasy Stock
This one is a bit difficult to determine. Technically, Harden’s stock was at zero. He wasn’t playing and the 76ers weren’t going to allow him to play and reintegrate into a team that he was inevitably going to leave. Now he goes to a team whose first and second options are Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Russell Westbrook was the Clippers’ starting point guard, averaging 11/7/7 in 31 minutes per game. He’s done a great job, to be honest. Contrary to public opinion, Westbrook has done his most efficient shooting over these past two years (he’s shooting 50% from three this year). Now, I imagine he will either come off the bench to allow James Harden to play point guard, OR Harden will play the shooting guard and start along Westbrook, George, and Leonard. I think this makes the most sense, and will allow Terrance Mann to continue to run the second unit.
Harden’s stock will stay the same ultimately. I imagine he will still get 20 points per game (Harden doesn’t need to sacrifice shots, and will fill it up on the nights where George or Kawhi rest), 5-8 assists per game, and 5-8 boards per game. Harden is Harden anywhere. On any team. That’s what the Clippers want. And frankly, what they need. Don’t let the media tell you he’s done. He’s clearly as solid as he’s ever been.
Joel Embiid’s Fantasy Stock
Gilbert Arenas said it best. Joel Embiid hasn’t really gotten better. If he possessed the motor that Giannis had, he’d average 40 points a game. He does not, however. I expect Embiid to average the exact same totals that he’s had the past year or so (33/10/4). Perhaps he gets a few more points per game, but I think the more likely scenario is that the 76ers lose far more games and Embiid checks out.
I expect him to be the next superstar to request a trade (this year or next), as the plague of every player thinking he should win a championship shifts the landscape of the league. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t have accepted this trade for PJ Tucker, let alone James Harden. The draft picks are great, but a draft pick is just selecting a player that you hope turns into a Joel Embiid or James Harden. I prefer to get back current NBA players of value in blockbuster trades. The 76ers didn’t do that. I don’t think Embiid’s stock rises because of that.
Fantasy Stock of Everyone Else
Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris become the real winners of this trade for fantasy purposes. Their usage rates and PPG will rise permanently because of this trade. Maxey now becomes the full-time point guard and gets to replace a share of Harden’s 21 points per game last year. Harris also gets added usage as he gets to take over some of Harden’s minutes. If Embiid checks out (he will), both of those players will get a piece of that usage as well.
Terrance Mann’s stock takes a hit. The Clippers wouldn’t include him in their trade talks. Now he’s going to be relegated to the second unit, and 4th quarter minutes will go to the superstars. It’s going to be harder for Mann to get his shots up when he does share the floor with the other superstars. I would trade Mann now if he was on my fantasy team.
Bottom Line: HARDEN STOCK FLAT, EMBIID STOCK FLAT/DOWN, GEORGE/KAWHI STOCK FLAT, HARRIS/MAXEY STOCK UP, and MANN STOCK DOWN.