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After James Harden Trade, 76ers Championship Odds Improve

Prior to the NBA trade deadline, the rumors of James Harden being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons heated up.

Before the deadline hit, the trade became official. The 76ers added the three-time NBA scoring champion and Paul Millsap to their lineup. In exchange, they sent guard Ben Simmons, center Andrew Drummond, guard Seth Curry, a 2022 first-round draft pick, and a 2027 first-round draft pick to the Nets.

The 76ers gave up a lot for a player who has never won an NBA championship in his career. Will Harden be the difference in Philadelphia and help them bring home an NBA title?

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From an oddsmaker’s standpoint, it looks like they’re liking his chances. After the trade, the 76ers saw their NBA title odds improve to +650 on FanDuel Sportsbook. Before the trade, Philly was averaging a betting line of +2200.

No Success With The Nets

The Nets tried to make a run at an NBA championship with Harden, but that experiment quickly came to an end. The trade came just five days after coach Steve Nash said the Nets would not be trading Harden. It was also only 13 months after they acquired the 2018 NBA MVP. In doing so, they broke up the short-lived big three of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.

Unfortunately, the big three never panned out and the trio actually only played 16 games together. They did go 13-3 in those 16 games though. Harden could have left this summer as a free agent, so the Nets did not want to take the risk and wait it out.

Like last season in Houston, Harden seemed to be pushing hard to get out of Brooklyn and over to Philadelphia. The big trio of Harden, Durant, and Irving was supposed to get the Nets their first championship. Unfortunately, it was a constant struggle to keep all three veterans healthy and playing together.

Speaking of injuries, Harden is currently out with a hamstring injury and has missed 10 games this season. Last season, he played in only 44 of the 82 games.

Harden has played in 13 NBA seasons and has reached the NBA Finals one time, which was his third season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In those Finals, the Thunder lost to the Miami Heat.

NBA Championship Odds

Here were the odds following the James Harden trade:



Brooklyn Nets


Golden State Warriors


Phoenix Suns


Milwaukee Bucks


Philadelphia 76ers


Miami Heat


Utah Jazz


Los Angeles Lakers


Memphis Grizzlies


Chicago Bulls


Denver Nuggets


Despite the loss of Harden, it looks like the oddsmakers are still betting on the Nets to win it all. They remain on top with +420 to be the 2021-22 NBA champions.

What Do The 76ers Look Like With Harden?

While Harden is currently out with an injury, Philly is definitely excited to see how Harden meshes with Joel Embiid. The center is having an MVP-worthy year.

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Embiid is leading the league in scoring with 29.4 points and has scored at least 25 points in 30 straight games for the Sixers. Even with these MVP-worthy numbers, the 76ers have been lacking in a reliable late-game scoring threat from the backcourt. Insert Harden.

Sure, Harden may not be the same player who won three straight scoring titles from 2017-18 through 2019-20. However, he is still a huge threat when he has the ball in his hands.

Embiid isn’t the normal kind of center Harden has played with on other teams though. It will be interesting to see how well they mesh together, and if they can go on a run.

Drama Coming To Brooklyn

While the Nets remain one of the favorites to win the NBA championship, they are adding some drama in Simmons.

Simmons requested a trade in the summer. It came as a result of his hurt feelings after last season’s playoff loss. Late in Game 7 against Atlanta, he passed up a wide-open dunk that would have tied the game.

After the playoff loss, Simmons was hurt by comments made by coach Doc Rivers and teammate Embiid. They said Simmons shouldered the blame for the Sixers’ playoff woes.

During his four seasons with Philly, Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. However, he refuses to shoot past the 3-point line, as he is just a 5 of 34 career 3-point shooter. Add in his failures at the free-throw line during the postseason and it seems to outweigh his playmaking ability and his spot on the All-Defensive first team last season. Nonetheless, we shall see how it plays out with the Nets.

Will The Harden Trade Bring A Title To Philly?

If you are looking at this new addition to Philly on paper, you would think it is a no-brainer. The 76ers are adding a seven-time all-star and a former NBA MVP to their lineup. However, there are some things with Harden that might not add up to a championship.

To start, Harden has had his shortcomings on the defensive side of things. This is an area the Sixers are already needing help in. So, Harden won’t be adding that needed help. Additionally, by trading Curry away, the Sixers gave away one of the best 3-point shooters in the league.

Behind the scenes, the reason for the big trade going through has to be Daryl Morey. He is currently the Philly GM, but he was also the guy who brought Harden to Houston.

Putting Harden on the team does not mean an automatic championship ring. In fact, since 2016, Harden has played with NBA stars Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Irving, and Durant. Big names, but still no championship ring for Harden.

Final Thoughts On Harden’s Playoff Aspirations

While Harden may be having one of his worst seasons statistically (22.5 points per game and 10.2 assists per game), he wanted this trade and the pressure is on him. Philly fans are not too forgiving, so Harden better hope this works out for the 76ers.

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