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Report: Harden has ‘increased interest in testing the open market’

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Per Fischer:

“Harden remains invested in competing for the title in Brooklyn this season, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. But Harden has recently informed several confidants-including former teammates and coaches-of his interest in exploring other opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer, league sources told B/R.”

Last week I took a look at how realistic a Simmons for Harden sign-and-trade actually was. Harden can play along too, ensuring the Nets’ brass feels worried about losing him so that they offer every penny of a five-year record-breaking max; as oppose to trying to do what the Sixers did with Harris back in 2019, topping the market while also saving some cash. If Harden were truly frustrated with Irving’s part-time status, only the latter scenario there figures to encourage him to find a new home. Our Paul Hudrick recently learned the idea the Sixers may be “Harden or bust” is off base, and that the team is not looking for a specific player, but rather a package that can improve the team’s title odds.

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