Chicago Bulls: Is there a trade that could land James Harden here?

James Harden Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
James Harden Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s not many worlds that a trade between the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls to nab superstar guard James Harden actually works out.

Even though Training Camp is underway around the NBA, and teams like the Chicago Bulls are preparing for the start of the upcoming preseason slate, there are still a few rampant trade rumors going around the league’s landscape. And, by a good margin, the most notable rumor going around the NBA landscape right now involves the Houston Rockets and superstar guard James Harden.

According to a report from ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim McMahon on Dec. 8, Harden still wants out of Space City and has expanded his list of potential contenders that he’d want to land with. The talk of the town for a while concerning a potential Harden trade was him landing alongside superstar forward Kevin Durant and point guard Kyrie Irving with the Brooklyn Nets.

But the other team receiving a lot of attention as it pertains to a Harden trade is the Philadelphia 76ers. That could place Harden alongside star point guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid, under the direction of newly hired head coach (formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers) Doc Rivers.

Here’s a bit more on what the ESPN report from McMahon and Woj had to say on the matter.

"The Rockets and the Sixers have had no substantive talks about a potential Harden deal, sources said. New Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ general manager for the previous 13 seasons, has said he has no intention to break up the Sixers’ All-Star duo of center Joel Embiid and guard/forward Ben Simmons."

The report also mentions that Harden is open to a trade with the Nets and Sixers, along with other “NBA contenders”. That likely wouldn’t include a team like the Bulls, but it’s hard to tell where Harden’s intentions lie at this point. This is a really weird situation that you don’t get too often heading into an NBA Training Camp and preseason slate.

It is really difficult to imagine a scenario where the Bulls would be able to put together a viable enough trade package to entice Harden to come to Chicago. They don’t have the infrastructure right now to support a contending level team like the Nets and Sixers likely would heading into next season.

The Bulls would have to acquire another big name, and likely see a pretty big rise to stardom out of one of the likes of shooting guard Zach LaVine, rookie forward Patrick Williams, point guard Coby White, and/or power forward Lauri Markkanen. But since the Bulls would probably have to include a good bit of their young core in trade talks to be able to land Harden, they would be getting a thin supporting cast around him.

There’s not a very realistic shot, if Harden does in fact want to land with a contender, for the Bulls to trade for him. Newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley would’ve had to get a bigger name to the Bulls already to make this happen.

We also can’t ignore how cap strapped the Bulls were for the entire of the offseason. That makes working out a Harden trade that much more difficult.

Next. 3 players with the most to prove in Training Camp. dark

Ironically enough, the Bulls do open up their four games preseason slate on Dec. 11 at home at the United Center against Harden and the Rockets. They get two games at home against the Rockets before hitting the road to round out their preseason slate on Dec. 17 and 19 against the Oklahoma City Thunder (Donovan’s former team).