World News – AU – James Harden Sweepstakes: Investigate Which Competitors May Be Desperate For A Deal After Slow Starts


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Trade negotiations are defined by leverage. It doesn’t matter what a player is actually worth, just what a team is willing to pay to acquire that player. The Oklahoma City Thunder got a ransom for Paul George because they knew the Clippers would have to pay it to secure Kawhi Leonard. When the Spurs dealt with Leonard, they got almost nothing because the league knew he was a rental company.

The Houston Rockets apparently lost their hold on the James Harden negotiations that season. The entire basketball world knew they weren’t interested in Brooklyn’s offer, and no satisfactory boogeyman replaced the nets on their mind. The Miami Heat withdrew from the negotiations. The Philadelphia 76ers publicly declared their best trade good, Ben Simmons, unavailable. Talks with other teams have reportedly not gone far. The simplest explanation for why Houston Harden hasn’t acted yet is that it hasn’t been able to generate enough leverage to get a worthwhile package back for him.

But leverage is fluid and the start of the season has a way to generate it. Teams lose games. You become desperate. They persuade themselves to make a single trade, which is the only way to save their season and future. We are less than two weeks into the season. Nobody is exactly desperate just yet, but now everyone has seen their roster a reasonable number of times on the floor. Trends begin to form. We’re still weeks away from slow starts that turn into disasters that can lead to panic deals, but with a handful of games to the books, it’s well worth checking out some of the teams believed to be in the Harden Sweepstakes are involved in assessing how distraught they might get over their first games.

Things are going well and well in Philadelphia right now. Led by the NBA No.. 1 defense, the 76ers are the only team to lose in the NBA and sit on our latest power rankings. Your offense is at No.. 1 not quite as dominant. 16, but if preseason trends continue, her schedule could have something to do with it. Five of their first six opponents currently have above-average defenses and three are in the top 10 defensively. There’s a chicken-and-egg argument, however, as it’s entirely possible that with such a small sample, a bad Philadelphia crime would improve that ranking.

But the peripheral numbers are mostly positive. The 76ers are ninth in the NBA in 3-point percent, eighth in assists and eighth in offensive rebound rate. You could stand more fouls and more 3s, but the outline of an above average offense is taking shape here. With the no. 1 Defense, that’s all Philly needs to fight credibly, especially if his clutch success continues. The 10 minute rehearsal may be tiny, but for what it’s worth, the 76ers score 126 points. 7 points per 100 possessions in the clutch. The whole point of taking over Harden is improving that number.

We’ll have to see a lot more basketball before we know how sustainable these numbers are, but right now the 76ers have no reason to rush. Things are going as well as they are. Simmons is one of the drivers of this No.. 1 defense, and swapping him for Harden would likely hurt it as much as it helped the offensive. Nothing can be ruled out, and Daryl Morey is likely the manager most likely to ignore a small sample in the name of the short-term uptrend (especially if he can use his newfound leverage to get something else out of Houston), but right now? For once it’s quiet in Philadelphia. There is still no trace of despair.

If you told the Nets ahead of the season they’d have a worse record than the Knicks on Jan. . 4, yes, they would probably assume something went terribly wrong. Spencer Dinwiddie’s torn ACL could qualify, but for the most part, things have gone largely as planned for the Nets so far. Lineups with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving destroy the opponents at the age of 18. 5 points per 100 possessions and these are the lineups that matter most in the playoffs. You are in ninth place on the offensive despite a terribly unrealistic shooting luck. If you think the Nets will actually finish the season in 25th place in 3 point percent, there is a bridge in Brooklyn that you should act for instead of Harden.

The passing of the nuggets was even better. You are fourth despite being Michael Porter Jr. Have missed. for the last two games. They are a bizarre overtime sequence away . 500, and they started a little slow last season too. This is about defense. The nuggets are No.. 29, and there is no obvious solution to fix it on the roster. Brooklyn’s defensive problems aren’t quite as pronounced, but better offenses have exposed it. The nets were ranked first on the defensive. 30th. Then they played twice against Atlanta and the Wizards. Now they are no. 12th.

Both teams got exactly what they wanted from their crimes, which suggests that a harden trade wouldn’t fix what is actually wrong with them. If either of the two is going to make a big trade this season, it would make sense for a defensive upgrade to do so, considering how much room both teams have for improvement there. At a certain point in time, both crimes would generate a falling return. How much better could they actually get?

The Miami Heat doesn’t panic. It’s not in their DNA. This is a team that strolled into an Orlando bubble that mentally broke some of its competitors, shrugged and started a sideline selling overpriced coffee (oh, and they made the finals too). . They will make a deal when they are good and ready. A 2-3 start in itself means nothing to them. Jimmy Butler’s health is a built-in excuse.

But the fact that most of their players play worse than they did in Orlando is undeniable. Goran Dragic is 34 years old. Asking him to return to all-star levels based on 25 games at Disney was never fair. Maybe Duncan Robinson is just the twelfth best shooter in the world instead of the second best. Andre Iguodala once played on the same team as Chris Webber. He is ancient.

These were somewhat predictable results. The more daunting one was Tyler Herro’s tepid start to the season. The entire argument against trading in Harden rests on Herro’s future fame. He was through five games as a full-time starter (and Miami’s leader in shot attempts) . . . fine. He will likely get better if his shooting is stabilized. But nobody looks at 15. 8 points per game to 57. 7 percent real shooting as guaranteed fame. He is 20. He’ll get better. He could even make that jump this season. But how long does Herro have to look like a starter instead of a star for Houston to treat him like one? If Herro played at this rate for another two months, would the Rockets consider him a viable centerpiece at all?

Butler’s health will fix some of these issues, as well as the inevitable gun regression, but there are more issues here than the heat wants to admit. Butler or no, this roster shouldn’t be rated no. 28 on the offensive or No.. 26 in net rating. They flip the ball more than any other team in basketball and get killed on the glass. They are old in some places and young in others.

And that is the core issue in her pursuit of Harden. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have only shown them that they lack the star power to win a championship like the one currently being built. If another star isn’t developing internally in time to change that now, and they seem to lack the long-term advantage of other future competitors, doesn’t it make sense to choose a direction and stick to it? Isn’t Harden solving her short-term problems at a price that no longer seems unbearable for her future?

The heat would probably still say no. Confident in their ability to land stars in their spare time, they likely view Herro and Robinson as essential elements, either as recruiting tools or as trading chips. The heat may look like it’s trapped between the timelines, but that’s the heat we’re talking about. You deserve the benefit of the doubt. If they do a harden trade it will be on their terms and if they fail it will be because they believe they can do better with another move. However, if their slow start continues, something must be done.

Has the clock finally struck midnight at the Raptors? It definitely looks like it. Years of pumpkins being made point guards when they lost a large chunk have taken their toll, and the breakdown makes more sense through the prism of their championship list for 2019. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – four of their eight best players – are all gone. Toronto does above average almost every year, but at some point the wear and tear gets overwhelming. The 2019-20 Raptors avoided this by putting in top performances from almost every rotation player.

But two of the seven players who actually played regularly in the postseason are gone. Kyle Lowry’s age is finally showing up as a ball handler. It has dropped to 0. 64 points per possession in pick and roll, good only for the 13th. Percentile. OG Anunoby apparently forgot how to shoot. So did Pascal Siakam, who has still not gotten free from the slump that has doomed Toronto’s postseason in Orlando to failure. The raptors are No.. 29 on the offensive. Shooting regression will help them. You can at least point to a solid net rating to prove that things are not as bad as they seem. But close losses are more encouraging for some teams than others. Toronto, which has lost its 14 clutch minutes by 12 total points so far, is more of a continuation of last season’s problems. The raptors have no closer. At the moment they don’t have an above average generator for half-judicial offenses.

Harden is the league’s best in-court crime generator, and with every passing game, Toronto’s package becomes less attractive. Siakam is older than Caris LeVert and the output gap between the two is narrowing. How much of the offensive winnings would be lost if Harden replaced Siakam defensively in the end? Is it even worth saving this season?

That is the basic question that is at stake here. The Raptors could credibly have thought of themselves as a James Harden who hadn’t competed in the championship this season. But given Lowry’s age (35 as of March), fit issues, defensive costs, and lack of depth, is that even still true? If anything, the raptors could have zoomed the desperation into the serenity of acceptance. Maybe this is just a losing season. Perhaps the burden of playing in Tampa Bay limits their ambitions. Perhaps Masai Ujiri needs time to reshape his roster around the current core, and he has near-maximum space to do so this off-season.

With that slow start, however, it became clear that the Raptors are rudderless at the moment. You no longer have a competitive list or a chance to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo. There is also no clear path to another franchise player in the free agency. They’re not good enough to win right now, but their young talent is running out of room to grow. The last time the Raptors were in this situation they swung for the fences on Kawhi and won a championship. Maybe Harden is the solution now. Maybe it isn’t.

But the era of the automatic confrontation in Toronto seems to be over. The raptors are getting better. In fact, they’ll probably do pretty well. For years, however, Toronto’s infrastructure was sufficient to ensure competitiveness. The Raptors have made their planned profit nine years in a row. But years of tape at the back of the roster have finally taken their toll, and a core built to support an existing star is fighting to keep none spinning. If any team could be described as desperate this early in the season, it would likely be the Raptors.

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World News – AU – James Harden Sweepstakes: Examining Which Competitors Might Be Desperate For A Deal After Slow Starts
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