Will the James Harden era in Brooklyn be short-lived? That remains to be seen. After the Brooklyn Nets traded a ton to land the former MVP from the Houston Rockets after he grew disgruntled, Harden is looking to win his first championship with the Nets after injuries derailed their playoff run last year.
Although Harden preferred to land in Brooklyn last season to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it seems his future there isn't guaranteed. Prior to the 2021-2022 season, Harden was offered a contract extension from the Nets.
As we know now, the superstar guard didn't agree to new terms with the Nets just yet. In addition to contract negotiations going silent, the Nets have seen their fair share of issues with one member of their big three as Kyrie Irving has yet to play a game for them this season.
Harden could certainly re-sign with the Nets and put a stop to all of the rumors regarding another change of scenery in his future. But for the time being, it seems the Sixers are hoping that all goes South in Brooklyn, forcing Harden to desire a reunion with Daryl Morey in the City of Brotherly Love.
Not only did Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer report that Harden remains high on Philly's mysterious list of targets in a potential Ben Simmons trade, but Ian Begley of SNY recently reported that the Nets are well-aware of Philly's interest in their high-prized prospect as well.
"The Sixers and team president Daryl Morey attempted to trade for Harden last season before the Nets landed him. Philadelphia was willing to include Simmons in the trade, which is one of the many factors in Simmons’ falling out with the organization.
It seems unlikely that the Nets would entertain trading Harden in-season. Harden has said publicly that he loves Brooklyn. He declined to sign an extension prior to the season but it was seen as a decision driven by finances. Harden could make significantly more money if he re-signed with the Nets as a free agent this summer.
But if things go sideways in Brooklyn and Harden decides to test the market, Morey and the Sixers will almost certainly have interest."
What're the chances the chips fall in Philly's favor, and things do go sideways with Harden and the Nets? It's still too early to tell. Despite all of the talks and the Kyrie Irving distraction, the Nets are still the top team in the Eastern Conference right now, with a record of 15-6.
Requesting to leave for another team right now would be a backward move for Harden. Now, if the Nets were to come up short in the postseason once again, then the star guard could certainly change his mind about staying in Brooklyn long-term. For the time being, though, the Sixers would have to continue to practice patience as Harden won't be moving out of New York anytime soon.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.