Knicks mock trade: adding James Harden to provide offense

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers, knicks, james harden
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have officially entered the James Harden sweepstakes, with the 10-time All-Star guard having picked up his $35.6 million player option on Thursday. Now, the Philadelphia 76ers are set to collaborate with Harden to finalize a trade deal.

Knicks’ Potential Acquisition of Harden: The Right Price

Brian Windhorst from ESPN stated on Friday that if the price is right, the Knicks could acquire Harden. With the Knicks planning an active offseason to pursue a superstar capable of significantly enhancing their offense next season, Harden’s name is now added to their wishlist.

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Harden’s Impact on Knicks’ Spacing

While Harden might not be the same MVP-level player as before, he remains a high-impact guard capable of drastically improving the Knicks’ spacing. In the past season with the 76ers, Harden averaged 21 points and 10.7 assists with a 60.7% true shooting percentage.

Harden and Brunson: A Dynamic Duo

Playing alongside Jalen Brunson, Harden could contribute to making the Knicks one of the NBA’s best offensive backcourts, with high-level scoring from all three court levels.

Hypothetical Trade Scenario for Harden

In a proposed trade, the Knicks would get James Harden, while the 76ers would acquire RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Isaiah Roby, and two 2024 first-round draft picks.

The Trade’s Cost

Acquiring Harden from the 76ers will not be an inexpensive endeavor. It will likely put either RJ Barrett or Julius Randle on the table. If the Knicks decide to retain Randle to construct a title contender, a deal can still be concluded without moving him.

What the 76ers Might Gain

The 76ers are looking for guard and wing depth. If they plan on retaining Joel Embiid in the long term and continuing to compete for a championship, then adding a versatile wing like RJ Barrett and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year runner-up, Immanuel Quickley, could work. The addition of Roby as a salary filler, along with two first-round picks, could complete a hypothetical deal for Harden.

Fairness of the Deal and the Knicks’ Stance on Randle

There’s no certainty that the 76ers would find this deal fair. In theory, if they want Julius Randle, the Knicks could offer fewer assets to equalize the value between the two teams. However, there’s no indication that the Knicks are ready to part ways with their two-time All-NBA talent. Therefore, a deal would likely need to involve other significant components from last season’s roster.

The Future of the Knicks and Harden: A Waiting Game

Will the Knicks seize the opportunity and invest heavily in Harden? Only time will tell.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_