76ers not eager to trade for James Harden before deadline
The 76ers failed to create traction on a Ben Simmons trade as Thursday’s trade deadline approached. The possibilities are dwindling. Even Philadelphia team president Daryl Morey called a trade for Ben Simmons before the trade deadline unlikely.
But a potential lifeline has emerged if the Nets are truly open to dealing with James Harden — who is reportedly frustrated in Brooklyn and could become a free agent this offseason — by Thursday.
Still, the 76ers are showing reluctance.
Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck:
The idea that they should have to give up several valuable trade tokens for a disgruntled player who might walk away from Brooklyn altogether this summer has already been mocked internally. If Harden is in danger of actively sabotaging what the Nets want to build, as Charania reports here, the Sixers don’t think they should give up. Following than a multiple-time All-Star to Simmons to get a deal done by Feb. 10.
Of all the posturing the 76ers have made across the media, this is perhaps the most ridiculous.
Why trade for Harden now? Because Joel Embiid plays like an MVP and has Philadelphia (31-21) less than two games from first place in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers could win the 2022 championship with Embiid and Harden. There’s tremendous value in acquiring Harden for the 2022 playoffs rather than waiting for the offseason.
Simmons would likely contribute zero the rest of the season.
Philadelphia offered more than Simmons for Harden just over a year ago. Since then, Simmons has faltered in the playoffs, been tough to deal with and sat out – torpedoing his trade value. Although he’s showing signs of decline at 32, Harden is still a (deserved) All-Star.
Another advantage of trading for Harden now: It wouldn’t trigger a hard cap for Philadelphia. A sign-and-trade in the summer would. Attempting to execute an opt-in-and-trade could trigger sabotage alarms.
A direct Simmons-Harden trade would not work in terms of the salary cap. The 76ers need to send more salary. This report looks like their attempt to negotiate the additional terms.
But it’s hard to believe Philadelphia wouldn’t be thrilled with a trade that has Simmons’ general setting for Harden.