Breaking down what a Harden to the Bulls trade could potentially look like
Based on what we’ve seen so far, teams often lose a great deal of leverage in trade negotiations after their star player publicly requests to be moved. After all, who wants to trade for a disgruntled player? Although this makes trading for Harden an inherent risk, it also makes it possible for a team without many assets like the Bulls to get involved when they’d otherwise be outbid.
If the Bulls wish to join in the Harden sweepstakes, all they need to do is beat the Clippers’ offer. Considering LA is offering up little more than a platter of role players and fringe starting-caliber players, it won’t be much to entice Philly here. Fortunately, the Bulls are stocked up on the exact kind of win-now assets the 76ers would look for to pair next to reigning MVP Joel Embiid.
Here’s what I’d project a hypothetical deal between both sides would look like:
Since Harden and DeMar DeRozan are both on expiring deals, neither team would be taking in bad money or gaining a great contract in the process. Although DeRozan received an All-Star selection last year and Harden did not, I believe most would still consider Harden to be the superior asset at this point in time. Chicago could add a draft pick or two in here to even out that discrepancy, but Philadelphia would likely prefer a player like Alex Caruso instead to balance this deal out.
As good as Caruso has been for the Bulls, they have a glut of guards and adding Harden would only add to the logjam. Although losing Caruso would hurt defensively, it would arguably be cancelled out by removing DeRozan’s poor defense from the starting lineup. This move would also net the Bulls their first truly great playmaker since losing Lonzo Ball, while shoring up the wing depth with a decent 3-and-D player in Danuel House Jr.