Like most of us, I woke up to the news of Philly’s not-so-shocking blockbuster deal, moving James Harden and his beard to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Here are the basics – the Clippers get James Harden, PJ Tucker, and Filip Petrusev (who?) while the 76ers get Nic Batum, Marcus Morris, Kenyon Martin Jr, Robert Covington, a 2028 unprotected 1st rounder, a 2029 pick swap, and another 1st we will learn more about later.
While NBA and sports websites weigh in on how this trade affects both teams and their playoff hopes, the “Hobby” or Sports Card fanatics weigh this deal’s impact on cardboard values for the big names involved. Here are my “first thoughts” on the Harden deal as a Basketball Card guy…
JAMES HARDEN – If you think adding James Harden to Kawhi, PG, and Westbrook gives the Clippers a ‘chip this June, then split the impact of winning among those four players. Clippers hope they landed the point-Harden who could lead the league in assists (again) and take some scoring burden off of Leonard. For all of the players and fans involved, I hope they get the James Harden Brooklyn thought they had. If I had any Harden rookies, I’d be listing them on eBay at my desired Buy-It-Now, or Best Offer prices.
KAWHI LEONARD – His team showed (again) that they are serious about winning a title in the next two years with this big move. Kawhi adds a super-scorer while keeping Mann and Hyland and even Norman Powell. With his team completely “all-in,” it feels like Kawhi’s legacy has the most to gain here, and his 2012 Prizm PSA 10’s could hit my watch list in February. But Kawhi, bro, you gotta stay healthy.
JOEL EMBIID – For the reigning MVP, this is addition by subtraction. Philly started the season super strong without Harden and his distractions on the court, and now adds a ton of trade chips and veteran depth to keep Philly in the Finals mix for another year. Covington, Batum, Morris, and Martin (and their expiring contracts) could help Embiid’s playoff run either on the court or in upcoming deals for another impact player. Imagine a midseason deal for Pascal Siakam, Zach Lavine, or Karl Towns! No matter what, trade instantly makes the 76ers better and that helps Embiid’s long-term value and upside.
THE 76ERS – In the Harden era, everything slowed down while the Beard dribbled and tried to draw fouls. Without James, the Sixers can support Embiid with pace, shooting, energy, and even defense! A lineup of Maxey, Melton, Oubre, Tobias, and Joel is far more effective, fun to watch, and switch-able against opponents. Covington, KJ Martin, Paul Reed, Jaden Springer, and PatBev add a lot of the same – athletic, hungry dudes who can stretch the floor and defend the perimeter.
TYRESE MAXEY – It’s the moment he’s been waiting for. By “he,” I mean the guy writing this article, who has been buying Maxey cards for three years now. Tyrese is averaging 30+ points a game and looks stronger, faster, and more confident running the Sixers offense. This is now truly “his” offense. It revolves around Embiid, but it runs on Maxey.
If you know anything about HoopsandCards.com, or have listened to our podcast much (hint!), you’ll know that we could not be more excited or positive about Maxey’s upside, energy, scoring, and his Basketball Card market. This Harden trade is addition by subtraction for Philly and specifically Maxey, who I believe will make this year’s All-Star team and be a leading candidate for Most Improved Player.
Of all the players impacted by this trade, Maxey stands to benefit the most on the court and at the card show. If you’re into Basketball Cards for value or upside, it’s not too late to jump on the Tyrese train. But the departure of James Harden sends Maxey’s career to another level completely.