We are now over half a year into the Ben Simmons trade saga. It’s been a slow process and Simmons is still indeed a Philadelphia 76er. We are now under a month away from the trade deadline. The trade rumors and rumblings have only gotten louder.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc J. Spears recently put out a new episode of the Hoop Collective Podcast in which they discussed some things they’ve heard surrounding Simmons trade talks. This is what they had to say:
Spears: “I’m hearing [the Sixers] want to include Tobias Harris,”
Windhorst: “Me too.”
Spears: “That is the word out there because they can’t necessarily get an All-Star they want in return right now, as the Sixers have continued their talks, they’ve talked to teams about trading Tobias and Ben.”
If you would like to listen to this portion of the podcast it begins around the 40-minute mark towards the end of the episode.
Spears also went on to report that the Altanta Hawks indeed had interest in Simmons until the Sixers brought up the possibility of including Tobias Harris in the deal. Windhorst mentioned that some executives around the league speculated that the Sixers are clearing up money to pursue Brooklyn’s James Harden, as he is a free agent this summer.
Engineering a Simmons deal has been a challenge in itself (hence why he’s still a Sixer), and including Harris in any theoretical deal only complicates things. You’re looking at moving around a massive amount of money, at nearly $70 million in salary. It would almost certainly take a multi-team deal to get this done.
This update is interesting as it seems to deviate away from the common theme we’ve seen in the past few months of the Sixers pursuing a top-25 talent. There is no publicly known top-25 player available, so maybe it’s possible that the Sixers are shifting to a plan B where they value gaining some flexibility and assets in the process. Moving Harris would open up a lot of possibilities in regards to trade talks. Players such as Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, or John Collins were labeled as clunky fits, mainly because of their play-styles clashing with Harris’. Harris being moved would obviously change things.
Expect trade rumors and rumblings to only pick up from here as we inch closer to the magic Feb. 10 date.