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All your James Harden trade coverage
This was a Halloween, in the NBA, that won't soon be forgotten
Monday was the so-called Sports Equinox ... one of those very rare occasions when every single major sports league in North America (NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL, NHL and, yes, you're damn right that we're including Major League Soccer) had games going on the same night.
An all-timer Halloween for fans of the NBA's Transaction Game.
Dare I say that #thisleague stole at least a little thunder, too, from the NFL's Trade Deadline Day.
Less than a week after ESPN's NBA Countdown pregame show told the world that the LA Clippers were "stepping back" and "essentially pausing" trade talks for Harden, those same Clippers came to terms with Philadelphia on a trade — the only trade — that Harden has been angling for since late June.
It’s truly stunning to watch. No amount of havoc Harden wreaks behind the scenes (and out in the open) with any team he plays for ever seems to stop him from getting the very trade to the next team he wants to play for. The Beard is about to suit up for his fourth team just since January 2021 after orchestrating exits from Houston to Brooklyn ... and then Brooklyn to Philadelphia .... and now Philadelphia to his hometown Clippers.
Earlier today I published entries featuring both written and audio coverage on the trade and all of its ins and outs.
Here is the Substacked column on Harden's unmatchable gift for getting trade after trade that he seeks:
And here is the latest #thisleague UNCUT podcast alongside Turner Sports' Chris Haynes that examines the Harden deal from all angles:
An extravaganza on a Tuesday indeed.
PS — According to my pals Kendall Baker and Jeff Tracy from the Yahoo! Sports AM sports newsletter, Monday delivered just the 30th Sports Equinox in history to feature games in North America’s four traditional major sports league all occurring on the same day. The guys also pointed out that there is a very small window on the calendar every year that a Sports Equinox can actually occur; 27 of the 30 recorded have taken place between Oct. 12 and Nov. 4.
PPS — It was still Tuesday in every North American time zone except for the East, for the record, when this newsletter was finally published at the end of a long and busy day.
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Where You Can Find Me This Season
Don't tell my fellow former Walt Disney World Bubble resident Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, DAZN boxing, The Volume and countless other entities that I swiped this idea from him ... because we don't need to fuel his ego any further.
That said ...
I saw Mannix recently post a breakdown of his various broadcast gigs this season that will complement his writing for SI and (grudgingly) thought that was smart.
Your first stop to find me this season, as always, is this Substack. Count on at least four articles a week here and, of course, lots of back-and-forth banter via Substack Chat.
To listen to or watch me via broadcast mediums:
🏀 Haynes and I will have two #thisleague UNCUT podcasts per week via iHeart (and produced by the tireless Ryan Musick)
🏀 The Saturday Stein Line airs every Saturday from noon to 1 PM CT on 97.1 (FM) The Freak in Dallas ... presented by Panini Trading Cards and Collectibles and peerlessly assembled show after show by The Freak's do-it-all Michael Gruber.
🏀 I will make studio analyst appearances and write TV essays for Bally Sports Southwest's coverage of the Mavericks and Bally Sports New Orleans’ coverage of the Pelicans. (Got a good one in the works on the In-Season Tournament coming soon.)
🏀 I will contribute to Sportsnet's NBA coverage in Canada both on their Sportsnet Central show and with weekly radio visits on The Raptors Show on SN590 The Fan (AM).
🏀 I am also scheduled to make appearances this season on both Warriors and Kings pregame shows on NBC Sports Bay Area.
There might be more to come, too. Stay tuned!
James Harden is the fourth former MVP in NBA history to be traded four times. Trivia time: Can you name the other three?
The 76ers received five forms of draft compensation in the Harden trade. That includes a 2028 unprotected first-round pick and second-round picks in 2024 and 2029 from the Clippers, plus a first-round pick swap with the Clippers in 2029 and the worst of the three first-round picks Oklahoma City controls in 2026. The Clippers agreed to a 2027 first-round pick swap with Oklahoma City to bring the Thunder into the trade as a third-team facilitator.
We all have to wait 145 days for Harden's first chance to play against Philadelphia as a member of the LA Clippers. The Clippers host the 76ers on March 24 and the teams will hook up again for a near-immediate rematch in Philly on March 27.
According to the NBA's official count, 266 players on Opening Night rosters have G League experience, accounting for a whopping 50 percent of the league's players.
As recently as 10 years ago, on Opening Night rosters for the 2013-14 season, only 23% percent of the NBA's players had spent time in the G League.
Fourteen different players accounted for 25 50-point games last season. Chicago's Zach LaVine (51 points) had the first this season in a loss to the Detroit on Saturday ... one day after Dallas' Luka Dončić rumbled for 49 points against Brooklyn.
Last season's 25 50-point games were the most in one season since 1962-63 when there were 34 — four by Elgin Baylor that season ... and 30 by Wilt Chamberlain.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry, according to The Associated Press' Tim Reynolds, boasts the league's largest salary for the seventh consecutive season. Curry's $52 million salary in 2023-24 is the first in league history, Reynolds notes, to cross the $50 million threshold.
Players with salaries on course to land in the $50 Million Club next season alongside Curry: Denver’s Nikola Jokić, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Bradley Beal and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James.
LeBron's on-court earnings, as tabulated by Reynolds, should cross the $500 million mark during the 2024-25 … during which he will turn 40.
Answer to the trivia question above: Russell Westbrook, Moses Malone and my beloved Bob McAdoo.
My original plan, as explained in the previous Tuesday Newsletter Extravaganza, was to run my annual Eight (Almost) Fearless Predictions on this Tuesday after the opportunity arose last Tuesday to do a full Strat-O-Matic simulation of the 2023-24. Upon reflection I decided that I actually don't love the idea of printing predictions, even big-picture stuff, one week into the regular season, so I'm going to turn this season's batch of predictions into an end-of-calendar-year-themed piece that drops in late December or early January when it’s a more natural time to peer into The Stein Line crystal ball as we move into 2024.
SO psyched to be headed to the Dallas Card Show this weekend for the first-ever live remote show in the history in The Saturday Stein Line. If you can’t join us in person, you can listen live to me and my special co-host for the afternoon Skin Wade on 97.1 (FM) The Freak in Dallas from noon to 1 PM CT Saturday and then switch over to 1190 AM in Dallas for a bonus second hour from 1 to 2 PM CT. Join us online by clicking the link embedded in this sentence or via the iHeart radio app to listen on this or on any Saturday ... or catch the podcasted version of the show once it drops via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your pods:
The Stein Line is a reader-supported publication. To receive full access to all of my posts and support my work, please consider becoming a Paid subscriber. Many, many thanks to everyone who has already joined our community to contribute to and fortify this independent endeavor.