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The James Harden saga finally came to an end earlier this week, when the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers in a late-night blockbuster. As with any big move, there has been some fascinating fallout. 

We'll begin with an interesting note from Shams Charania, which indicated that Sixers owner Josh Harris and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer got on the phone to "iron out" the final details of the trade. Then, we'll consider what Yahoo's Vincent Goodwill reported on the "Ball Don't Lie Podcast." 

"From everything that I've been told, this was not a package trade that Daryl Morey wanted," Goodwill noted. "This was a trade that was made essentially by the Philadelphia 76ers ownership. They had told Daryl Morey to get a deal done now."

What do we make of those reports? 

It is certainly rare for owners to be on the phone negotiating trades. However, the idea that Morey was forced into accepting this offer doesn't quite line up with comments he's made himself throughout the process. 

Earlier this summer, after Harden had requested a trade, the Sixers' president went on the radio and laid out his requirements to get a deal done. 

"I think James is a very good player and right now, unfortunately, he does prefer to be somewhere else," Morey said during an interview with local Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic. "I'm attempting to honor that, but the reality is, if we do look at a trade, it's going to be for one of two things. It's either going to be for a player who continues to help us be right there like we were last year...or we're going to do it for something where we get enough draft picks and things like that in a deal that we could turn those into a player who can be a running mate with Joel [Embiid] as well.

"If we don't get either a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player, we're just not going to do it."

He made similar comments on Wednesday during a post-trade press conference, in which he explained the transaction: 

We're really excited for what this trade brings as well in terms of our ability to keep improving the team going forward. Both in the draft capital we go that we thought was extremely important for our ability to keep improving and being a championship caliber team. 

Very encouraged that we were able to get what we -- we set a bar in June, really, when James requested the trade and said look if we can get it to here, that should be what generally allows you go go out and get a player. Having a player like Jrue [Holiday] go for a similar package was validating in that. So we set that bar and obviously it came together where the Clippers met that price, so that's why the trade happened when it did. 

Here's the final return the Sixers received for Harden, PJ Tucker and FIlip Petrusev:

That return does not include a "very good player," nor does it include Terance Mann, whom the Sixers reportedly coveted. However, it does include many things the Sixers can turn into a very good player. The Clippers' unprotected 2028 first-round pick, in particular, is a major prize that figures to fetch a good return. 

Harris was involved in the proceedings by all accounts, and he may have pushed Morey to make the deal sooner than he would have liked. As we've seen in the past with the Ben Simmons saga, Morey is more than willing to wait to see what arises; perhaps another team would have gotten desperate and offered more for Harden closer to the deadline. 

This return met Morey's stated threshold, though, so it seems unlikely that he was super opposed and had to be forced to accept it by Harris.