Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Among James Harden’s preferred trade destinations

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

According to a report from The Athletic, the Milwaukee Bucks are among the preferred trade destinations for disgruntled Houston Rockets star James Harden.

The Milwaukee Bucks overhauled their roster for another title run next season, but now, the plot thickens.

As The Athletic’s Shams Charania ($$) reported early Thursday morning, Houston Rockets’ star James Harden has added the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat to his list of preferred trade destinations.

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Harden, the 2017-18 league MVP, has reportedly been adamant about wanting out of Houston for weeks now, even having turned down a two-year extension worth an astounding $103 million.

The 31-year old is scheduled to make $85 million over the next two seasons combined and holds a player option worth $47.4 million for the 2022-23 season.

Harden is among the most prolific scorers in league history, and he could undoubtedly be a needle tipping addition for any team looking to contend for a title. In the last three seasons, the former MVP has averaged 33.7 points on .445/.363/.868 shooting splits, 6.2 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.

As desirable as having the Harden might seem, at least for some, fans should not get their hopes up. The guard’s hefty contract is certainly not digestible for a team as limited financially as the Bucks are, especially with their limited asset haul. Of course, the Bucks traded away Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three first round draft picks, and the rights to two future pick swaps for Jrue Holiday this offseason, which was a substantial haul on its own.

If Milwaukee cleaned house for Holiday, whatever Houston’s asking price for the eight-time All-Star is likely too far-fetched for the Bucks to even garnish their interest. A deal would certainly have to include Khris Middleton and Donte DiVincenzo. Still, general manager Jon Horst would undoubtedly have to get far more creative than that in piecing together a competitive package against other potential suitors.

While trading for James Harden is unlikely, it is interesting to see him list the Milwaukee Bucks as a preferred landing spot, given his well-documented history with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This timeline of incidents started when Giannis won his first MVP trophy in the summer of 2019, with Harden being the runner up. Harden, who averaged a whopping 36.1 points per game this season, had some words to say about the snub, stating that he believed his loss came due to the narrative.

Little incidents followed, such as Antetokounmpo having said during the 2020 All-Star Draft that he would not select Harden because he wanted someone who would pass the ball. Harden clapped back as he said, “I wish I could just run and be seven feet and just dunk. Like that takes no skill at all.”

All that aside, there is no doubt that a pairing of Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden would be among the most formidable in the entire association. With Jrue Holiday as the third fiddle as well, that theoretical trio would be scary.

The Bucks could very well be on the clock with Antetokounmpo as he stated yesterday that he is not focused on the supermax extension, but bringing in a superstar of Harden’s magnitude would certainly be a good pitch.

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Both Harden and Antetokounmpo have made it clear that their goal is to win a championship, but could they really put their differences aside and come together to do so in Milwaukee? It remains unlikely, but stranger things have happened.