Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers

Rumors heating up on potential James Harden-Ben Simmons trade

The 76ers aren’t in any hurry to deal Ben Simmons, but the Nets’ willingness to deal James Harden has shifted Daryl Morey’s thinking. 

Daryl Morey has made it clear to anyone who will listen that the 76ers won’t be pressured to offload Ben Simmons before next week’s NBA Trade Deadline. That doesn’t mean Philadelphia won’t pounce on the opportunity to land James Harden if the Nets are truly willing to deal the former MVP.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports the two teams are expected to engage in talks on what would be a blockbuster trade.

The Nets appear to be open to business due to concerns over Harden’s willingness to play the sort of “free-flowing” basketball that appeals to teammate Kevin Durant and head coach Steve Nash in Brooklyn. Harden remains a dominant one-on-one offensive player but his propensity to slow the game down with his complex dribbling routines appears to have worn out his welcome with the Nets.

Ben Simmons for James Harden would be a blockbuster trade

Simmons hasn’t played a single minute for Philadelphia this season and it’s difficult to envision him ever donning a 76ers’ uniform again. His lack of shooting ability makes him an awkward fit on the floor with Joel Embiid and his off-court behavior has been even more concerning for Morey and team officials in Philadelphia.

The two sides haven’t established anything approaching a firm framework for any deal, but it’s thought that Brooklyn would be interested in adding Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, and/or Matisse Thybulle in any deal. Draft compensation could be involved by Brooklyn’s short on first-rounders after their deal with Houston to acquire Harden in the first place.

The wide-open nature of this year’s Eastern Conference race could also influence the two teams’ willingness to make such a seismic trade in the middle of the season. There’s no dominant team to fear for either Brooklyn or Philadelphia if they want to make a run at a berth in this year’s NBA Finals.

Landing Harden would satisfy Morey’s desire to pair Embiid with another All-NBA star. The Nets would love to reset their roster around Durant with more depth. It’s a potential deal that ticks a lot of boxes for both teams. If the Nets really are ready to move Harden a deal with the 76ers could come together quickly.

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