James Harden sweepstakes has new favorite and an intrigued Jimmy Butler

The James Harden sweepstakes appear to be leaning in the Philadelphia 76ers’ favor.

The New York Times reported Friday that when the Rockets eventually trade Harden, the 76ers currently rank as the eight-time All-Star’s mostly likely landing destination.

Houston has maintained it doesn’t have any plans to trade Harden right now and Sixers claim they’re not looking to include Ben Simmons in any deal.

This comes a day after The Athletic reported Harden was willing to expand his trade list beyond the Nets and 76ers to include the Heat and the Bucks. That led to Miami star Jimmy Butler liking an Instagram post about his team being added to The Beard’s possible destinations.

Butler acknowledged the double-tap on a Bleacher Report post.

“There’s a lot of stuff always in the media, I think that he’s a hellified player,” Butler said in an interview for ESPN. “I like the group that we have. To tell you the truth, I just want the guy to be happy. That’s what life is about. That’s what the game is about.

“And yeah, so what? I liked the post.”

The Heat have already traded their first-round draft picks in 2021 and 2023. Teams aren’t permitted to trade first-round picks in consecutive seasons, therefore Miami won’t be able to trade their 2022 and 2024 picks.

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