On Thursday, the 76ers sent Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, Ben Simmons, a 2022 first-round pick, and a 2027 first-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden and Paul Millsap.
Harden will not play this weekend for the 76ers, and there is no word on when he will be available for Philadelphia.
Following their 100-87 victory over the Thunder Friday night, Joel Embiid, who had 25 points, 19 rebounds, four assists, and five blocks, talked Harden.
“It’s James Harden,” Embiid said. “First of all, sucks to lose some of my teammates, Seth [Curry] did such a great job for us the year-and-a-half he was here; Drum [Andre Drummond] was as good as any backups that we’ve had in Philly since I’ve been here. So, you know, it sucks to lose him, but you know it’s James Harden, and he is one of the best players in the league, MVP. I don’t know. I am pretty excited; you add someone like that, your chances to win a championship get even bigger, so I’m just excited to get on with it and try to figure out how to put it all together as a team and go from there…
“Yeah, I talked to him, just a lot of excitement, you know, just excited. You talk about guys that I’ve played with [and] he’s probably going to be the best yet from what he has accomplished in his career so far, so it’s just about getting everybody the same page and finding how everybody plays, but we already have a system in place, and we’ve just gotta bring him along and try to get comfortable. It’s a bunch of new stuff, but a bunch of new stuff that he’s good at and then just put it all together.”
Tobias Harris, who also had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, reacted to the acquisition of Harden and Millsap.
The addition of James [Harden] is going to be huge for us, just how dynamic he is as a player, playmaker; his ability to score the basketball just putting a presence out there on the floor at the point guard position is going to be big for us, so the whole team is just excited to get him in here,” Harris said. “Paul Millsap, as well, will be a leader for our group as well, so we are excited to see how this thing comes together.”
If the 76ers want to win a title, Embiid believes the will players have to do everything in their power to make it happen.
“We’ve all gotta give up ourselves if we want to win,” Embiid said. “As you look the teams that have won in the past, whether you look at the Golden State teams. Even the Lakers or Milwaukee last year, they just move the ball. They play with each other. As I’ve been watching James [Harden], you put him in the pick and roll, and he’s probably up there as far as the best playmakers out of that pick and roll, so obviously you’ve got to add that even more to our offense because that’s what he’s good at. But like I said, we’ve all got to give up ourselves. I gotta become more of a, whether it’s a pick and roll player or pick and pop. Just to help my teammates to help him. Just like himself, he has to become off the dribble, three point shooter. But I get doubled a lot, so to be able to go against those double teams, you’ve got to be able to fire up threes off the catch, which is something he’s gonna have to do. But, it’s a work in progress. He’s my teammate.
‘Like I always push them to let it fly because I know that if we take those, and we make them, it’s gonna make other teams stop doubling me. It just opens up everything. So I think it’s all about everyone has to give up themselves to bring it all together. The focus is everybody’s on the same page about winning. It’s all about winning the championship. It doesn’t matter if I go out there and score 40 and someone scores 10. Or if someone else scores 40 and I score 10 or 20 points. It doesn’t matter as long as we get the win. And as long as everybody understands, that’s good. When you’ve got a team on the same page, that’s driven by winning a championship.”
it’s championship or bust for Philadelphia this season, and hopefully for them, Harden can be the missing piece.