Should The Raptors Pursue Harden?
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James Harden has been the talk of the NBA world with swirling rumours of him being dealt. Amongst the teams that could be a future destination for the former MVP winner is the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are no strangers when it comes to making big trades, we all know how huge the Kawhi Leonard trade was for the franchise. So, should the Raptors pursue Harden?
The relationship between Harden and the Rockets is strained to say the least, and even though the Raps being in the mix is somewhat surprising, they do have the pieces to make a deal happen. Pascal Siakam and a few other pieces would have to be in the mix for the Rockets to even consider moving the perennial MVP candidate.
This scenario is much different than the course of events that led to the Leonard trade. Toronto didn't have to trade much for Kawhi two years ago and are somewhat in limbo this season. Siakam’s struggles in the bubble were a little worrisome. His scoring dropped, the turnovers increased, and really looked the opposite of what he was in the 2019 Finals where he became a prominent player.
Other players you’d probably see in trade talks are Van Vleet and Anunoby. Is Harden worth that? I'm not saying that Toronto would trade all three because that would be ludicrous, but if the trade revolved around Siakam and a couple of picks it would be hard to pass up.
Without a doubt, the uber-popular guard is one of the NBA’s best, but his lack of leadership ability could be a dent in any deal for Toronto. His lack of defensive awareness is also an issue. Yet the potential is there for him to buy into a proven system.
For Toronto, going after James Harden shows that they are willing to win and stay competitive. We have to be honest, the Raptors are falling behind the likes of Milwaukee, Miami, Boston, Brooklyn and in the Eastern Conference. No question they will be tough to play against in the playoffs, but they simply don't stack up on paper anymore.
With Giannis already locked up, their Plan A has been dashed away. James Harden could be a viable Plan B. I'd take Harden over Siakam 10 out of 10 times, not trying to take shots at Siakam, but Harden is a superstar and could be what the Raps need to stay relevant.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Raptors’ future. With Harden, you know what you got. You have a great scorer and a chance to contend in the competitive Eastern Conference. There's baggage with Harden but Kawhi had some baggage too when he came to Toronto. The risk is a bit bigger, but the Raptors could reap the rewards.