The LA Clippers' trade for James Harden has been marked by controversy. Before he even took the floor for the team, there were questions about his fit with the rest of the roster and whether he would actually enhance the players around him.
Once the Clippers got off to an 0-5 start with Harden in the lineup, skepticism about the move to acquire him only grew more widespread. After all, before his arrival, the Clippers had one of the most productive lineups in the league with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Russell Westbrook leading the way.
Many have wondered what exactly the Clippers' goal was when bringing in yet another ball-dominant player, and one team insider recently revealed that the team may have had an ulterior motive in trading for Harden all along. The Athletic's Law Murray speculated that LA may intend for James Harden to ultimately replace Russell Westbrook.
Insider believes Clippers want Harden to replace Westbrook
Murray backed up his statement by pointing out that the Clippers' front office has historically preferred having a point guard "who is a theoretical fit with Leonard and George in terms of size and shooting ability." He says that while Head Coach Tyronn Lue has stuck up for Westbrook, the team believes Harden can replace him if the two are not able to mesh on the court.
This could partly explain Westbrook's decision to volunteer to move to the bench. If he feels the front office does not have full belief in him, it would be a wise move on his part to take more of a back seat while the team sees if their experiment will work or not.
This news does not bode well for team chemistry. If there is already tension between Harden and Westbrook, there is little chance they can work together long term.
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