Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The almost-annual James Harden trade request is upon us.

Wojnarowski also added that along with the Clippers, the Knicks were expected to call Philadelphia about trading for Harden. This despite the fact that Harden is such a bad fit for coach Tom Thibodeau that it’s almost hilarious. Sure enough, SNY’s Ian Begley downplayed the Knicks’ actual interest.

None of this is to say the Knicks can’t pull off a trade for Harden. They have more than enough draft capital and can send the Sixers plenty of talent back in return. Team president Leon Rose is smarter than that.

Let’s ignore that by the numbers, Harden is clearly a talented player. He averaged 21 points and a league-leading 10.7 assists per game last year as the Sixers’ point guard. Harden also shot 38.5% from three.

Of course, he only played 58 games because what’s a Harden season without missing time with an injury? Harden also vanished in the playoffs, per usual.

And this is the player the Knicks want to add alongside Thibodeau, star point guard Jalen Brunson, and Josh Hart? Thibodeau is serious to a fault and behind the Jalen-Josh bromance is a relentless desire to win.

Meanwhile, instead of winning championship rings, Harden accumulates trade requests. Oklahoma City to Houston. Houston to Brooklyn. Brooklyn to Philadelphia after falling out with Kyrie Irving. And now, instead of playing out his contract for a championship-winning coach in Nick Nurse, he’s asking out of Philly.

The New York Knicks don’t want Harden, and chances are he doesn’t want them either. The only upside to him joining the team would be Madison Square Garden being a block west of Rick’s Cabaret. He’d at least be easy to find if he was ever late to a game.

It’s more likely the Knicks, instead of trying to add another star, focus more on shooting depth. Someone like Bruce Brown or Brunson and Hart’s old Villanova teammate Donte DiVincenzo would be a good example. If anything, maybe the Knicks need to subtract star power.

This means that the Sixers and Clippers likely swap Harden and Paul George. Los Angeles may add some depth and draft picks just to sweeten the deal.

One way or another, the Knicks are too smart (Shocking, right?) to even seriously engage with the Sixers about Harden. He’ll be playing somewhere next year. Just not in New York.

Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.