Today is the start of the 2023 NBA Free Agency, which beings today at 6 PM EST. Today allows teams to communicate and negotiate contracts with players, however, those contracts cannot be signed until July 6th, 2023. In this article, we will break down James Harden, and his odds to land with certain teams. It is one of the most unpredictable times of the year, and all eyes will be watching tonight. If you are looking for the best betting odds and stats, here is information to know.
Restricted vs. Non-Restricted Free Agents
It's very important to know the difference between a restricted and non-restricted free agent. When a player becomes an unrestricted free agent, it means they are free to talk and sign with any team. With a restricted free agent, those players have the same right to talk to other teams, however their former team can match an offer and resign the player. This is important, because it will affect the odds when it comes to betting on the signing of a particular player.
Notable Biggest 2023 Free Agents
James Harden- Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden is a star in the NBA, and his name is not new when it comes to free agency. In his 13-year NBA Career, Harden has played with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, and the Philadelphia 76ers. We've seen Harden Traded to the Rockets, where he signed a four-year $160 million extension in 2017. Additionally, he's been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, and from there, the 76ers.
This week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that James Harden would opt into his $35.6 salary next season, and that the "76ers would work together to find a trade." There was assumption that Harden would remain with the franchise, especially after they hired Head Coach Nick Nurse, however, that's not the case.
According to Sam Amick, from the Athletic, James Harden was "extremely upset" with the Sixers handling of the situation and made his dissatisfaction clear to the organization." Harden has a chance to win with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, along with a new head coach, but wishes to leave the organization. Let's break down his contract, and odds to land with certain teams.
2 Years, $68,640,000
Year Base Salary
2024 Unrestricted Free Agent.
Team Odds to Land James Harden
*Odds Courtesy of PointsBet*
Houston Rockets +150
James Harden spent almost a decade of his career with the Houston Rockets, and rumors have been swirling that there may be a possible return back to Houston. The Rockets are a very young team and hired new Head Coach Ime Udoka. A veteran presence would be great for this Houston team, who has an average age of 22.3. The Rockets selected guard Amen Thompson in this year's draft, to play alongside guard Jalen Green. Although James Harden is 33 years old, it's hard to envision him having a role off the bench. It was reported this week, Jalen Green made comments on a podcast, which didn't sit right with James Harden.
According to Kelly Iko, from the Athletic, "James Harden caught wind of Jalen's podcast with Paul George, and he wasn't too keen on some of the things Jalen Green was saying... For Jalen to say it could be good, it could be bad, James didn't like that very much.
It's important to note the Houston Rockets have the most cap space ($52 million) in the NBA and has some pieces to move for James Harden. The question is, can Harden overcome Greens comments, and is he willing to lead a young core?
Los Angeles Clippers +200
To me, the Los Angeles Clippers make the most sense for James Harden. Although the Clippers have superstars in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, both haven't been able to stay healthy, and underachieved in the playoffs. The Clippers are over the cap space by $71 million, however, have the assets to trade for Harden. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George "are said to be on board with the idea of Harden potentially joining their core." Also, there have been reports that Harden wants to play with Clippers, per Sports Illustrated.
Why the Clippers make sense.
The Los Angeles Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2022-2023 playoffs due to injury. The Clippers finished 5th in the Western Conference and picked up veteran guard Russell Westbrook, who is now a free agent. We've seen Harden link up with other all-starts, such as Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving. If Leonard and George can stay healthy, this would be a potentially scary lineup, especially with the competition in the Western Conference. With the new CBA coming out, it could potentially affect a deal like this, or the organizations financially ability to build around the stars.
The Clippers had point guards in the past, such as Terrance Mann, Reggie Jackson, John Wall, and most recently, Russell Westbrook. Along with injury concerns, it certainly feels Los Angeles has lacked a true point guard who can create their own shot, and score. When healthy, both George and Leonard have lacked a true skilled point guard. Although the Clippers are over the cap space, they can offer future first round picks and players. That includes Marcus Morris ($ 17 Million), Nicolas Batum ($11 Million), Robert Covington ($11 Million), or Normal Powell ($18 Million). To be this make the most sense for Harden to go back to his hometown and chance to win an NBA Championship.
New York Knicks +300
The Knicks acquired start guard Jalen Brunson last free agency and surprised many by making the playoffs. The Knicks have talent around Brunson, including RJ Barrett ($23 Million), Julius Randle ($25 Million), Josh Hart ($12 Million), and Mitchell Robinson ($15, Million). Although Barrett is a great player, James Harden could be the player the Knicks so badly need alongside Jalen Brunson. According the Spotrac, the New York Knicks are over the cap space by $24 million.
Jalen Brunson is an incredible, player, and I do think he's a better point guard then Harden is currently. We've seen James Harden play off the ball with Kyrie Irving, and I personally feel he's better with the ball in his hands. It would be hard to envision how Brunson and Harden would work alongside each other, considering they are primary ball handlers. The Knicks declined to pick up Derrick Rose $15 million and have future first round picks. However, the likely hood of them sending Barrett or Randle could be likely. I truly believe there are better destinations for James Harden.
Los Angeles Lakers +600
In a perfect world, James Harden would make sense for the Lakers. Los Angeles has stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and have experimented with the point guard position for some time now. From Russell Westbrook to D'Angelo Russell, the Lakers have struggled to find a true point guard who can score, create their own shot consistently, and dish out the ball. The Lakers are losing players in Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba, and only have a handful of players on contracts currently.
Austin Reaves proved how valuable he is as a guard in the playoffs. It's important to note both him and Rui Hachimura are both free agents. The Los Angeles Lakers are over the cap space by $104 million, however, could truly use Harden at the point.
Phoenix Suns +1000
According to Sam Amick of the Athletic, James Harden has "serious interest" in getting traded to the Suns for multiple reasons, including the fact he attended Arizona State University, owns a house in Phoenix, and considers it his "third home of sorts."
As we all know, Bradley Beal was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns, which leaves them $80 million over the cap space. Although Chris Paul was included in the trade deal, the Suns owe the next 7 years of first round picks to the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards. In addition, the suns don't have many trade pieces, aside from Deandre Ayton. Besides, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Ayton, the Suns have Cameron Payne and Ishmail Wainright. The Suns are lacking financially freedom and lack of depth at this time. Before the Beal trade, I would say Harden to the suns makes perfect sense, but now it's looking like a long shot.
There may be other Darkhorse teams considered, such as the Boston Celtics, and the Miami Heat. My prediction will be the Clippers, based off their assets to trade, and the fact they have two superstars there. However, with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent not guaranteed to come back, Miami needs a true playmaker alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Brad Stevens and the Celtics traded back several times in the draft. Do they have something up their sleeves?
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Sara Jane is a full-time content creator, focusing on both college basketball, the NBA, NFL, and writer of Ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter/YouTube/Kick/Twitch/Instagram: @GGirlSports.
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