CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers were finally able to come to an agreement in the middle of the night Tuesday morning by trading James Harden to the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s what he wanted and the Sixers found a package that they liked as far as the value they got in return.
The trade happened around roughly 2 a.m. EDT at a time when everybody is winding down and getting ready for bed. Some guys were still awake, however, and the news seemed a bit surreal at that time when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news.
“I almost didn’t believe it,” laughed De’Anthony Melton. “Nowadays, there’s so many fake accounts out there that like I had to go click on Woj, I had to make sure the followers and stuff matched up so yeah that’s when I first saw the news.”
The assumption surrounding all of this is that there is a bit of a relief now that Harden is gone. The Sixers can now move on, but Melton and the Sixers don’t view it that way. It was just something that had to happen.
“I wouldn’t say necessarily that,” said Melton. “I feel like it was something we needed to do for this team. I think he emphasized what his desires were and I think as an organization, we got to do what’s best for us. So, I felt like we waited it out to see what was out there and ultimately, hopefully we got what we wanted and we got players back and we’re ready to suit up with whoever.”
With that being said, Harden is an obvious Hall of Famer. Despite his antics off the court in his career, he is one helluva basketball player. Melton took a lot of lessons from his one season playing with The Beard including his ability to have an undeniable impact on the game without scoring the ball.
“Just his feel for the game and his vision,” Melton marveled. “James is an exceptional—obviously, we all know him for his exceptional scoring, but he’s also a very exceptional passer, and I think just the way he would find guys, get people open, and sometimes the way he will see the floor, I think, is what I picked from him, and just how to control the game sometimes.”
With Harden now gone, the Sixers can now move on with their season without that weight around the organization. It can almost be like a breath of fresh air as the attention now turns to hosting the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.