The 76ers added some firepower to their lineup, but they still need a point guard. The Rockets are reportedly open to trading James Harden in order for them to reunite with Ben Simmons, who the Sixers traded away last year before his injury. Would this be a good move?
The 76ers have been rumored to be trading for Ben Simmons since the summer of 2016. The Houston Rockets have had a rough season, and their struggles have opened the door for other teams to try and trade for the star.
The Ben Simmons trade saga is still going on. It goes on and on. And the list goes on and on. Meanwhile, James Harden is fighting to live up to the high expectations he’s set for himself as one of the finest offensive players in the NBA. Is there a link between the two?
They are, in reality. Simmons was mentioned in connection with the Sixers’ attempt to get Harden and team him with Joel Embiid before disappearing in the playoffs and then disappearing from the club. That clearly never happened, and it was the start of Simmons’ and Philly’s demise.
Is there a possibility the 76ers’ initial trade concept may be revived, given The Beard’s terrible start to the 2021-22 season and the former LSU star’s continued absence?
In 2021-22, James Harden has suffered terribly.
In tonight’s game versus Houston, James Harden had a chance to become the first player in NBA history to score 40 points against all 30 opponents.
He hasn’t scored 40 points in a game this season, which is the longest amount of time he has gone without scoring 40 points in a season since 2013-14. (49 games in). pic.twitter.com/jPIMRE8PP2
December 9, 2021 — Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH)
Harden was named MVP. He’s been named to the All-Star team nine times. On three separate times, he led the NBA in scoring.
In 2016-17, he even topped the league in assists.
That version of the Arizona State product, though, has all but vanished.
Harden’s scoring average has dropped to 20.9 points per game, his lowest since coming off the bench in Oklahoma City. His 34.6 percent three-point shooting is the worst of his career. With 4.8 turnovers per game, he leads the league.
There are some built-in excuses: he’s still getting back into condition after a hamstring injury last season, and he’s figuring out how to work around the NBA’s rule changes, which have reduced his free-throw attempts.
Whatever the situation may be, Harden isn’t the same player he has been in the past this season.
Does this rule out a reversal of a deal that was on the verge of happening before James signed with the Brooklyn Nets?
Philadelphia may now be able to reconsider the Ben Simmons trade offer that sent us on this route in the first place.
During the third quarter of a game at Wells Fargo Center, James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets drives against Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. | Getty Images/Tim Nwachukwu
The Simmons affair seems to have gone on forever. It has, to some extent. Ben’s dissatisfaction with the 76ers led to a trade demand, which led to his holding out, which brought us to this point.
But what’s been buried in the commotion is where the dissatisfaction began.
It wasn’t because of the team’s notoriously bad postseason performance. It wasn’t the remarks made by Doc Rivers or Joel Embiid after Game 7 of the Atlanta Hawks series. Those were certainly contributing issues, but they weren’t the source of Simmons’ dissatisfaction.
Everything started at the start of last season, when Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey offered the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 draft in an attempt to lure Harden away from Houston.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers were so confident in their arrangement that they told Simmons about it. Then the transaction fell through, and Philly had unintentionally handed Big Ben the proverbial cat out of the bag.
Everything else that happened after it didn’t help. Simmons, on the other hand, was naturally irritated by the situation. (Even if he did say on Twitter, through Marc Spears, that he was “very thrilled not to be moved.”) Yikes. That tweet didn’t hold up well over time).
That’s when the schism between him and the company started.
Is there a possibility, given Harden’s poor performance, that Morey can persuade Brooklyn to part with him and receive what he wanted all along?
The possibility of a Ben Simmons-James Harden deal has resurfaced.
Much of the speculation behind the aborted Houston trade is on Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s aversion to dealing with Morey, who moved to Philadelphia.
However, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey was a source of contention for Morey. The Rockets were interested in him, but Morey declined. Harden then relocated to Brooklyn.
Maxey has been one of, if not the brightest, bright lights for the 76ers this season. The second-year guard has improved dramatically and has displaced Simmons in the starting lineup.
Would Morey consider keeping the former Kentucky guard out of the trade if he gets another crack at Harden? Or would he include him in order to complete his initial trade?
If he had another shot at The Beard, he’d probably let Maxey go. Given Harden’s terrible performance, this may be enough to seal the deal for Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant’s desire for a second banana is also an issue. Kyrie Irving hasn’t returned to the squad, and his other Big Three member has been playing some of his worst basketball of his career.
Simmons would assist to fill the vacuum and relieve KD of some of the playmaking responsibilities. Big Ben wouldn’t be expected to be a huge source of offense with one of the finest scorers in NBA history alongside him.
A trade including Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Maxey for the 2017-18 MVP is both financially sound and makes sense on the court. Steve Nash, the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, would be able to use both Maxey and Thybulle in the two-guard position left by Harden.
Will Morey finally catch his man and put the whole drama to a close?
NBA.com provided all data.
RELATED: If the Philadelphia 76ers’ ultimate dream is to trade Damian Lillard, it will cost them $107 million more than they would have expected.
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