5 reasons why the Toronto Raptors must trade for James Harden


James Harden, Toronto Raptors

James Harden, Toronto Raptors Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden is being shopped on the trade market, and no eligible team needs him more than the Toronto Raptors. Let’s explore why that is.

James Harden is back on the hardwood, doing the things that only James Harden can do. In the first three games for the Houston Rockets, his numbers are ridiculous even for his standards. So far he’s averaging 37.0 points, 11.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game with shooting splits of .525/.455/.889. He’s on the trade market, and no eligible team needs him more than the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors have their first win under their belt after an 0-3 start, but they have a long way to go if they want to get back into the realm of the title contenders, and trading for James Harden would get them there. Of course, that’s true of several teams, but the Raptors should view themselves as desperate for his services.

We’ll explore just why that is, starting with perhaps the most obvious reason.

1. The Toronto Raptors have done it before

It’s not the first time the Toronto Raptors were pretend contenders, one big trade for a superstar away from becoming one of the NBA’s elite teams. Two offseasons ago they were in a similar situation and made a blockbuster move to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs.

That move worked out and the Raptors won the 2018-19 NBA championship. Even though Leonard and Green both left after the season, it was a move worth making. This situation is different because Harden has two years on his deal rather than Leonard’s one, and trades like the one that sent Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks have raised Harden’s price considerably, but the Raptors are still a team that has the pieces that could satisfy the Rockets’ demands.

Getting Harden to themselves isn’t the only reason they need to make a trade, and we’ll get into that next.