Although Houston Rockets guard James Harden is one of the NBA's best scorers, the former MVP isn't drawing a significant amount of attention in the trade market this offseason. Ever since demanding a trade from Houston, Harden has kept his desires pretty specific. He wants to land with an Eastern Conference contender.
Specifically, Harden would like to reunite with Kevin Durant on the Brooklyn Nets, but he'll also reportedly settle for joining the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, or the Miami Heat, too. Considering the Rockets don't want to split up with Harden, Houston's front office has set the price tag for a possible trade sky-high with no intentions of bringing it back down to reality for the time being.
A couple of the aforementioned teams have an interest, including the Sixers. But they aren't interested or desperate enough to cough up a superstar plus several first-round picks. Although Harden is interested in Milwaukee, the Bucks never pursued the star guard. Meanwhile, the Sixers, Nets, and Heat have all engaged in talks with Houston.
Brooklyn and Philly remain in contact with the Rockets, looking for a possible Harden trade. Miami, on the other hand, is no longer in the running. "After having cursory talks about a James Harden trade, the Miami Heat have moved on and will not pursue the Houston Rockets' star," ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported on Monday.
The Heat's withdrawal from the Harden sweepstakes is good news for Philly if they're still interested in the 31-year-old star. While it's widely believed the Sixers can offer the Rockets the best package if they're including Ben Simmons, Houston reportedly had a keen interest in the Heat's group of young emerging stars as well.
However, the Heat aren't looking to make a deal at this time, leaving the Sixers with one less team to compete with.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_