Earlier than the Rockets agreed to send James Harden to the Nets as a part of a blockbuster four-team deal, the 76ers have been lengthy thought of the favorites to accumulate the previous MVP as a result of that they had a bit no different workforce may provide: Ben Simmons.
At simply 24 years previous, Simmons has already proven himself to be an elite playmaker (7.9 assists per recreation for his profession) and versatile defender (First Group All-Protection in 2019-20). Houston had reportedly been looking for a younger franchise cornerstone as a part of any Harden package deal, and Simmons match that description higher than another participant that was realistically accessible.
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On Wednesday’s version of the “Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon informed Windhorst and Marc J. Spears that Simmons was “completely on the desk” however famous that there wasn’t a “consensus” inside the Sixers group that buying and selling Simmons for Harden was the most effective transfer. Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers specifically has been a giant supporter of holding Simmons and Joel Embiid collectively.
Listening to Ben Simmons was fairly ecstatic to not be traded from the Sixers to Houston for James Harden and believes his workforce is able to bringing a title to Philadelphia. Doc Rivers can also be an enormous fan of Simmons and believes the most effective is but to come back with two-time NBA All-Star.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) January 13, 2021
It is unclear precisely the place the 76ers drew the road within the sand, however they probably weren’t prepared to supply the identical form of draft compensation because the Nets. Brooklyn handed over management of its subsequent seven drafts to Houston (three future first-round picks and 4 future choose swaps). The Rockets reportedly wished Simmons, picks and different gamers in a possible take care of the Sixers — Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle have been a part of discussions — and even for a celebrity like Harden, that is a excessive asking worth.
One factor the Rockets did not need? Kyrie Irving. They had little interest in buying the Nets guard, who has missed Brooklyn’s past five games for “private causes.”
“I do know that the Rockets wished nothing to do with Kyrie coming again on this deal,” MacMahon mentioned. “I get it. Mainly their level was, ‘OK, so we’ll commerce one actually sad celebrity for a good unhappier star who’s not nearly as good?’ If Kyrie will get traded someplace the place he would not need to be, I do not know that he is even reporting.”
Windhorst added that NBA executives are divided on Irving’s commerce worth. He was informed Irving may hypothetically be a part of a transaction that enables the Nets to acquire a number of first-round picks, or he may solely be hooked up in a commerce as filler. Given his mysterious standing, it is no shock to listen to the differing views about Irving.
Now Brooklyn will transfer ahead with a “Large Three” of Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant, whereas Philadelphia will deal with constructing round Simmons and Embiid. Maybe the Nets and Sixers can settle who received the commerce/non-trade in an Jap Convention playoff sequence later this yr.