There you have it. Per Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, James Harden, three time scoring champ, former MVP, and one of the greatest offensive players of all time is heading to form a superteam in the Sixers’ division with Brooklyn. For a while there it looked like the Sixers were actually front runners to reunite Harden with his former GM, Daryl Morey. Per The New York Times Marc Stein, the Sixers were in fact favorites because of their purported openness to include Ben Simmons in a deal, but in the end, they were reportedly scrambling to find future draft capital to include, since they did not want to include Tyrese Maxey in a deal per Marc Stein.
Some of the updates that had Sixers fans on the edge of their seat today included:
The Sixers, league sources say, are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation) to offer Houston to keep Tyrese Maxey out of a potential James Harden trade, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
At this point, about 40 minutes before the Woj and Shelburne bomb that dropped it looked like Philadelphia and Houston were haggling over the final assets of a potential blockbuster.
The haggling over precisely which players (and how many teams) would feature in a James Harden trade continues, but league sources say nothing has happened -- yet -- to dislodge the Sixers from their long-held position as the favorites to acquire Harden— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
Daryl Morey recently said he was not trading Ben Simmons. These reports from Stein would appear to belie that public stance, however, maybe it was true. Who knows? It wasn’t an easy calculus and we’re bound to learn more about Houston’s asking price.
After rumors of Simmons departing from the team and violating team health and safety protocols days ago, and after reports of a swollen left knee last weekend, and after a particularly poor performance last night against Miami, many fans were eager to move on from the two-time All star from Melbourne, Australia. He currently sits as 7th in overall Defensive Box Plus Minus and he and superstar Joel Embiid have are a plus 64 across the 244 minutes they’ve played together thus far this season. Better than the +16 they were in 840 minutes last regular season.
Some fans and media members would prefer to target Bradley Beal in a trade, since he’s younger than Harden, may come with less off the court issues, and is inked for a longer period. So it’s not as if Ben’s name will suddenly stop swirling in rumors:
With that nonsense out of the way, Simmons for Beal, let’s get it done— Bryan Toporek (@btoporek) January 13, 2021
In the end it’s a rough outcome for Philadelphia because even if you preferred to keep Simmons, you certainly didn’t want to have to face James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving in a playoff series. That’s more firepower than anyone in the league can handle unless things go terribly wrong for the Nets.
The Nets are reportedly sending out Caris LeVert, who’ll relocate to Indiana. They’re sending four first-round picks and four pick swaps and Jarrett Allen to the Rockets. It’s a great day to be a Nets fan. Per Shams Charania: