The Miami Heat got lucky in their second-round series against the Sixers when Joel Embiid was shelfed due to an orbital fracture. On top of that, the MVP finalist is currently on the NBA’s concussion protocol.
As it stands, he’s listed as eliminated for Game 3 in Philly, but ESPN has reported there’s still a chance the status could change in time for the tip.
Otherwise, the burden will once again fall on James Harden to try and shoulder the extra burden, which he hasn’t really been able to do so far. In two games against the Heat, the 10-time All-Star has averaged just 18 points per game while shooting 39.3% from the floor and 25% from long range.
Still, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz believes Harden and The Heat could actually be a good match going forward should the Sixers attempt to leave him this offseason.
On Thursday, Swartz dropped his list of surprise landing spots for the association’s top free agents this summer. In the event that Harden and the Sixers decide their partnership won’t work, the author cites the Heat as his sneaky target.
According to B/R’s Farbod Esnaashari, Harden had previously considered a move to the Heat when looking to leave Houston. And Swartz thinks that scenario is worth reconsidering (or at least considering).
Even though Harden didn’t look like his former MVP self as a scorer, he still knows how to hit the line at the elite level. Additionally, his abilities as a presenter and backcourt rebounder continue to be weapons. Harden recorded a 21-11-7 line during the regular season.
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As noted in the article, the cost of bringing Harden to South Beach would be high. Swartz thinks it would be Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry just as a starting point, with additional sweeteners likely to be required.
Specifically, Tyler Herro was mentioned, who could even be a deal-killer in a world where Pat Riley is rightfully infatuated with the aging Harden.
While Charles Barkley would seemingly quarrel with the notion that Herro is a big star, the fact that he is a 20-plus point scorer, the reigning sixth man of the year and someone a full 10 years younger than Harden remains the same has shown signs of decline two years in a row.
So to say Miami would land the Sixers guard would probably be an understatement.