AP Photo/Charles Krupa
James Harden is seeking a trade away from the Philadelphia 76ers this summer, and former NBA star Tracy McGrady doesn’t get why.
“I don’t understand for the life of me what Harden is doing,” he told GQ’s Howard Beck. “Why are you trying to get out?”
He added that leaving behind the defending MVP, Joel Embiid, made “zero sense” to him:
“Not only that, but I look at all the teammates he’s played with. James has probably played with more Hall of Famers than anybody in the league, and he doesn’t have a ring to show for it. I don’t know what he’s looking for. And maybe there’s some internal bulls–t that is going on that we don’t know about. Because it doesn’t make any sense to me to leave the MVP, and the Eastern Conference, where you have a shot to at least play for a championship. It’s got to be something deeper than what you know. Get over it, man.”
McGrady brings up a number of fair points. Harden and Embiid were brilliant together, outscoring opponents by nine points per 100 possessions in the 51 games they played together last season, per NBA.com. The Sixers were an impressive 34-17 in those contests.
Granted, it didn’t lead to a title, as the Sixers were yet again dismissed in the second round of the playoffs. But the Embiid-Harden pick-and-roll was one of the most dangerous offensive combos in the NBA.
But Harden has also played with his fair share of former Hall of Famers and never managed to win a ring in that time. The list is impressive: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and now Embiid.
Perhaps a move to the Los Angeles Clippers, to pair with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, would give him his best shot yet if such a move materializes. Time will tell. But his star pairings haven’t led to a title yet.