Things have not gone too well for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Despite this being the second postseason with them pairing James Harden and Joel Embiid, the franchise has very little success to show for it. They have been unable to make it out of the second round and have lost to the Heat and Celtics in the last two years.
Now that their long offseason has begun, rumors have already started floating around the internet that Harden is looking to move on from the team. Now, other reports have come in that the 76ers are looking for potential replacements to Harden such as Fred VanVleet from the Toronto Raptors. Let us take a closer look and find out how all of this could go down.
Will the Philadelphia 76ers trade James Harden for Fred VanVleet?
Although VanVleet and Harden are very different players, they might just be involved in a trade if James demands to move on from the 76ers. Theoretically, VanVleet is a good fit with Embiid. He is only 29 years old and has much more of his prime left to offer when compared to James Harden. Moreover, he isn’t as ball dominant in terms of playstyle and plays the role of a typical point guard.
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 31, 2023
Fans will struggle to predict whether Harden will be given a say regarding his preferred destination if he demands a trade from the 76ers. After all, he has changed teams multiple times throughout his career in order to win an NBA championship and is yet to find success.
Harden just finished the first year of a two-year contract worth around $68 million. He will also have a player option next season before entering free agency after the 2024 NBA season. James made about $33 million this year and is expected to make around $35.6 million next year. Similarly, Fred VanVleet has one year remaining on his 4 year and $88 million contract. He is expected to earn almost $23 million next season.
Since the duration for both of these contracts syncs, rumors have emerged that both Harden and VanVleet might be traded. That would certainly help the 76ers since a trade would also likely involve them getting other assets to match Harden’s $35.6 million.