‘They are feeling the pressure’

Rival scouts and executives have mixed reviews for the Clippers after they agreed to terms to acquire James Harden in a blockbuster trade with the 76ers. (Derik Hamilton / Associated Press)

NBA trades are graded on a sliding scale. Some are chess moves made with an eye on a team’s five-year plan. Judgment comes quicker for deals based on win-now expectations.

The Clippers’ trade for Philadelphia’s James Harden falls into the latter category. Success or failure will be known at the latest by June’s NBA Finals, a stage the Clippers have never played on in the franchise’s five decades, including in the four seasons since All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George partnered in Los Angeles.

Brokered over on-again, off-again discussions for the last four months, this deal was done to prop open the Clippers’ championship window by adding a fourth future Hall of Fame player and trusting coach Tyronn Lue’s ability to get all four to play together. Will it actually work? Four rival scouts and three executives from across the NBA offered divided thoughts when surveyed Tuesday by The Times about the trade. They provided their candid observations on the condition of anonymity.

What emerged were split opinions on the deal’s cost, motivations and the fit between Harden and new teammates Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook that ranged from optimism to dissent.

“Don’t want to call it a desperate move,” said one rival team executive of the Clippers. “But I think they are feeling the pressure.”

“This is something that can go two, three different ways, but a motivated Harden is a good Harden,” said one scout, referencing Harden’s acrimonious trade requests from Houston, Brooklyn and Philadelphia since 2020. “I think we’ll get a hard-playing James. Now when the playoffs come, that’s always interesting how he regresses. But I think we’ll see some big-game James in the coming months.”

Read more: Plaschke: James Harden orchestrated an ugly exit from the Sixers, but the Clippers shouldn’t care

In addition to Harden, the Clippers will receive 38-year-old forward P.J. Tucker and 6-foot-11…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/scouts-executives-split-james-hardens-232132498.html

Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2023-10-31 23:21:32

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