After the NBA Finals concluded, James Harden and his desperation to move out of the Houston Rockets was the focus for weeks. Reports spoke about Harden wanting to play for a a title contender — a list with included Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. However, even as the star's list kept extending, the Rockets (or any team interested), were unable to materialize a trade before the 2020-21 season began. Even now, reports suggest that Harden is nowhere close to being traded.
Though teams have been interested in acquiring Harden, the Nets and 76ers might not need to agree with the Rockets terms of a trade. While they aren't interested in a veteran like Kyrie Irving, the Rockets have apparently been asking for Ben Simmons. With Spencer Dinwiddie out for the season, the Nets might not have anyone else the Rockets might be interested in.
Additionally, Kevin Durant — at the centre of the Nets championship dream — was reported to be unwilling to play with The Beard. To keep Harden interested, they ended up trading All-Star guard to the Washington Wizards for John Wall — a move that apparently did nothing for Harden wanting out of Houston.
While the Nets, who are 5-4 as of now, are working towards their title. With both Irving and Durant healthy and playing often, the team has become a favourite contender alongside the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other hand, the 76ers (currently in quarantine after Seth Curry's positive test result) are 7-2. Joel Embiid, determined to play better than the 2019-20 season, will aim for a deeper playoff run. That being said, the team is reportedly unwilling to break up the Simmons-Embiid duo yet. Moreover, concerns about Harden fitting in with Embiid have been raised.
Reports have also spoken about the Rockets, who are in no hurry to trade away their 2018 NBA MVP. The team can plan to build around the 31-year-old, collecting draft picks and younger players to play with him. The Rockets, having missed the first game due to COVID-19 protocols, are 2-4 in the Western Conference. Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat are other teams who have been linked with Harden.