At the moment, the Clippers have made Terance Mann untouchable in the deal. While Mann is one of the better role players in the league, it is a bit confusing why Los Angeles is holding on to him rather than moving him to acquire an elite playmaker in Harden.
Harden is not the same ruthless scorer and MVP he once was, but he has transitioned seamlessly into a new role of being a playmaker who can also score when the time calls for it. He averaged 21 points while leading the league in assists with 10.7 per game in 2022-23.
Former NBA star Gilbert Arenas on an episode of “Gil’s Arena” is urging the Clippers to just move Mann for Harden:
If you’re the Clippers and you’re giving up a hustle man — and knowing your team and the stars you have, you have two stars that usually are going to miss a lot of games, and what usually happens is you don’t have enough scoring. So if you have a backup dude who can put buckets in the basket when those stars are out, and this is what I have to give up? … What am I losing?
Arenas is correct. If the Clippers actually want to acquire Harden, then move Mann, and this will all end. The Sixers need to get the right pieces in return for Harden so they can flip those pieces and acquire the impact player they need to get the job done in the Eastern Conference.
Therefore, President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is going to wait and get the needed value from the Clippers. As for Harden, he has returned to practice. It remains to be seen if he will play in any games for Philadelphia.