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Report: Sixers seek “a lot more than James Harden” in potential Ben Simmons trade

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We continue to ride the roller coaster that is NBA trade rumors!

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for yet another Ben Simmons trade rumor to come out on Friday. ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski hopped on ESPN’s KJZ show to discuss some of the more specific details within the Simmons/James Harden trade talks.

These trade rumors seem to keep fluctuating in terms of what is actually being discussed and what isn’t. We initially saw reports come out on Thursday evening about the Sixers’ willingness to include Simmons in a Harden trade. It was shut down pretty quick, however, as Daryl Morey made an on-the-record statement shutting down any notion of the Sixers dealing Simmons. A rare occurrence, to say the least.

We now find ourselves with another rumor that pushes the notion that Simmons has been involved — in some manner — in trade discussions.

While James Harden is undoubtedly a better player than Ben Simmons, there is an argument to be made in terms of who has more value in a trade. Simmons is only 24 years old, coming off of a successful individual season where he made his first All-NBA and All-Defensive teams, respectively. He’s also beginning the first year of his five-year max extension deal, meaning he’s under team control for the max amount of years possible with no option of any kind.

On the flip side of things, Harden is 31 years old and is only under team control for the next two years, as he can opt out of the final year of his contract. From a contract standpoint, Simmons’ deal is incredibly valuable. It makes sense that the Sixers may feel they would want more value in this situation.

Assuming that this isn’t a play for leverage in trade talks, I’m curious what the Sixers would want from Houston’s side of things. The Rockets’ best tradable players include PJ Tucker, Danuel House Jr, and the newly signed Christian Wood. The Rockets are lacking in a lot of their own draft picks as they only own one protected Wizards’ first-round pick, along with two protected Portland first-rounders. There’s also a chance that a trade could be expanded to involve additional teams.

Any of the above players would be helpful to the Sixers, but it’s very unlikely that Houston would even think about sweetening a trade in which they’re giving up a former MVP.

The rumors continue to flow and this story seems to be very unpredictable in where it will go. Woj also recently reported that the Rockets prefer to get a deal done “sooner than later” in regards to moving Harden. It sounds like we will have an answer soon on if the Sixers will land The Beard.