Harden, who opted into the final year of his contract with Philly, has been seeking a trade this offseason. The Clippers appear to be his top choice, as that would give him a chance to team up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
“Yeah, I mean I’m really sensitive Ty Lue’s situation there,” Fisher told AllClippers. “Like as a coach, I’m sure he wants to put a team of guys together that he feels like are gonna be available and that he can go out and coach and help him win, whether it would be a better fit or not – James has been more available than Kawhi and Paul, regardless of how you feel about James’s game. So to some degree, it may work better, even if when healthy Paul and Kawhi are clearly two of the best players, and top 10 players in the league. It’s a really tough call, but those are the calls that you get paid to make at that level. And, you know, Lawrence Frank does a great job there. I mean, they have a great group with the Clippers as well, so they’ll figure it out.”
Since joining the Clippers, George hasn’t played more than 56 games in a regular season, and Leonard hasn’t played more than 57.
That’s made things tough on the franchise’s chances of making an NBA Finals, and Lue has been facing an uphill battle as the team’s head coach because of it.
Since taking over as the Clippers’ head coach, Lue has coached the team to a 133-103 regular season record and 11-13 playoff record. The Clippers lost in the first round of the playoffs last season to the Phoenix Suns.
Harden has been more durable than George and Leonard, but he’s also dealt with injuries, playing 58 and 65 games over the last two seasons.
During the 2022-23 season, the 10-time All-Star averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc for the Sixers.
While the Clippers did make the Western Conference Finals in the 2020-21 season (Lue’s first as the team’s head coach), they have yet to make an NBA Finals since adding George and Leonard to the roster.
Fisher seems to believe that giving Lue another player who is available more often than not would raise the Clippers’ ceiling in the 2023-24 campaign.
For now, it appears that the Clippers are in a bit of a holding patter to see if the Sixers actually deal Harden this offseason. Philly is in a tough spot since it wants to contend for a title, but Harden will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason since he’s in the final season of his deal, so the Sixers may want to trade him to recoup some value back.