Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed, there haven’t been many rumors connected to the Sixers. They’ve been able to leave the Ben Simmons saga behind and press on with the James Harden era in Philadelphia. But today we’ve received a new report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania with a few pieces of information regarding Bradley Beal and the uncertainty of when Simmons will make his debut for the Nets.
Firstly, Charania explained that the Sixers did work on a potential deal for Beal this season, before the trade deadline and the opportunity to acquire James Harden emerged:
The 76ers did their due diligence with the Wizards on Beal throughout the season, but many across the NBA say it was much more than that. Multiple sources said the 76ers worked during the season on a potential trade. Beal faced a decision on whether to force a trade out of Washington and Philadelphia had prominent interest at the deadline if he was cleared to play from his wrist injury. The 76ers’ package would have been centered around Simmons and draft picks, sources said.
Of course, as Charania noted, the Sixers preferred a trade for Harden over any other option. Now that the Sixers have the superior player in Harden, who is also a far better passer than Beal which has made a huge difference to the team’s offense, it’s safe to say things worked out for the best.
Charania added that Beal is leaning towards re-signing in Washington when he can hit free agency this summer, but “the Heat are seen as a legitimate suitor for Beal” if he decides he wants to join another team.
As for Ben Simmons, it’s still extremely unclear when he will take to the court in Brooklyn. He’s been dealing with back soreness and received an epidural injection last week. Now Charania has confirmed that Simmons has a herniated disc in his back. While Simmons wants to play as soon as he can and a return for the playoffs is the goal, it remains unclear when he will actually be fully cleared to play.
The Nets have made a push to the eighth seed in the East and Kevin Durant has been playing incredibly well recently since returning from injury, but the Nets are still far from full strength with Simmons out of the picture until further notice and Kyrie Irving still unable to play in home games. Given how much time Simmons has missed now and the latest complication with his back, it’s hard to see he’ll return in fine form and be ready for the playoffs by the middle of April.
It looks like this will be an ongoing situation to monitor as we wait to see how the Eastern Conference standings finalize and what shape each contender will be in a few weeks from now.