How the Los Angeles Lakers could trade for James Harden:
While Harden’s $35 million salary figure is a sizeable number, it is actually obtainable for the Lakers. It definitely is far better than the Russell Westbrook salary figure that the team previously took on. Here is what a deal would likely look like:
It is important to note that the Los Angeles Lakers would not be able to do this trade until mid-January at the earliest. Rui Hachimura is such a key piece of this trade (both for his talent and his salary figure) and the Lakers physically cannot trade him until then because of the salary increase with his Bird Rights.
Will the 76ers be willing to let this situation play out this long? Only time will tell. Daryl Morey has shown that he will stay patient and let a situation drag out if need be, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the situation could drag on long enough for the Lakers to get involved.
Obviously, this would be a controversial trade for the purple and gold to make. Harden is one of the most polarizing players in the league and he has not been consistent at all in the playoffs. You would think that the Lakers would have learned a lesson from Westbrook.
That being said, NBA fans also know that teams will take big swings at superstar players if they think it will result in a championship. If there is enough pressure from the superstars on the roster then the front office may have no other choice.
Now that the framework of the deal is understood, let’s dive into the grades for both teams.