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Despite James Harden’s Willingness to Stick with Clippers, Phoenix Suns Emerge with Best Odds to Land 2018 MVP

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Despite James Harden’s Willingness to Stick With Clippers, Phoenix Suns Emerge with Best Odds to Land 2018 MVP

The Los Angeles Clippers’ stint as housemates of their accomplished crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, is over. Starting next season, the franchise will play its home games in the newly-built Intuit Dome. The Clippers had a golden chance of capping off their time at the Arena by winning their maiden NBA title and raising a championship banner in the rafters at the housewarming party in their new home arena. Instead, their final game at their now-former home was a 30-point blowout loss against the Dallas Mavericks. This loss has prompted the need for change ahead of the 2024-25 season. Among the players who can be shown the front door is 2018 MVP James Harden.

The Clippers’ loss in Game 6 ended their ambitious campaign and forced them to begin preparations for their next era much earlier than they would’ve anticipated. The Clippers’ draft capital isn’t enticing, they do not have young players to trade for a superstar in return. They do not have cap space to land a big-name free agent as well.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, they’re forced to focus on creating cap room to re-sign James Harden, who’s an unrestricted free agent after this season, and Paul George, who’ll likely opt out of the final year of his contract to sign a massive multi-year extension. During their exit interviews, George expressed his desire to stay with the Clippers, but Harden dismissed the question, claiming it’s something he doesn’t “have the answer to or haven’t even thought about.

Harden’s comments have sparked rumors that he won’t return to the Clippers next season. Meanwhile, the betting odds have suggested a surprise team to be the frontrunner to sign the former MVP, the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are the bookmakers’ favorites to land the veteran guard, followed by the Orlando Magic and the Lakers, per BetOnline. The Desert team is the most likely to scoop up the 34-year-old with 4/1 odds.

The Suns’ ‘superteam’ was also the victim of a disappointing first-round playoff exit and are expected to repurpose their roster in the offseason. Adding Harden would be a massive update, but Phoenix’s financial situation makes their potential pursuit of the three-time scoring Champion a dicey prospect.

Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal will earn over $150 million combined next year, leaving the franchise with little to work with to fill the roster. They’ll also have to turn one of their star guards into a forward to fit Harden in the starting lineup. They could potentially trade one of the three superstars to make room for the veteran point guard, but Durant and Booker are presumably untouchable in trade talks and Beal’s injury history and contract situation make him an unlikely target for teams.

Suns owner Mat Ishbia has already announced that the team plans to retain its current starting lineup, which effectively rules out Harden teaming up with Durant for the third time in his career.

Suns fans laugh off the prospect of James Harden joining the franchise

Phoenix Suns fans are aware that their team needs a reshuffle and more talent to compete for the title next season. However, they unanimously dismissed the prospect of their franchise adding James Harden to its ranks.

A few fans questioned the financial feasibility of signing James Harden to a roster where three players will eat up $150 million in cap space.

The bookmakers are backing the Suns to pursue the 10-time All-Star, but the fans are neither on board nor can they make sense of him joining their team.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar

Jay Mahesh Lokegaonkar


Jay Lokegaonkar is a basketball journalist who has been following the sports as a fan 2005. He has worked in a slew of roles covering the NBA, including writer, editor, content manager, social media manager, and head of content since 2018. However, his primary passion is writing about the NBA. Especially throwback stories about the league's iconic players and franchises. Revisiting incredible tales and bringing scarcely believable stories to readers are one his main interests as a writer.

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