- Sixers President Daryl Morey denies reports that the team is willing to trade Ben Simmons.
- The Houston Rockets reportedly want Simmons and three draft picks in exchange for James Harden.
- The Sixers are keeping the duo of Joel Embiid and Simmons and have made offseason acquisitions designed to make their tandem work this season.
Late Thursday, some of the NBA’s top spies reported that the Philadelphia 76ers have made Ben Simmons available in a James Harden trade package:
The Philadelphia 76ers have made Ben Simmons available in some packages with the Houston Rockets for James Harden, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Conversations aren’t fluid as of now.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 17, 2020
Those rumors quickly fueled the talks that a trade between the Sixers and the Rockets could be in the works, perhaps progressing, or even about to be consummated. The Rockets had made it clear that if the Sixers want Harden, the package should include at least Simmons and a combination of draft picks. With Philly willing to part with the Aussie guard, a major roadblock has been cleared.
However, newly installed Sixers head of basketball operations Daryl Morey was quick to refute those stories. According to Morey, the Sixers aren’t trading Simmons as he is a big part of their future.
Daryl Morey addressed the trade rumors:
“We are not trading Ben Simmons — he is an important part of our future.”
MORE: https://t.co/WRepRgryrQ pic.twitter.com/DTKCIjqJR9
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) December 18, 2020
Sixers’ New Additions
Morey had made it known weeks after he took over the Sixers’ basketball operations that he wants to keep the tandem of Joel Embiid and Simmons. Although Morey would love to have his former superstar on his new team, the Sixers’ boss has always maintained that both young stars are off-limits when it comes to trades, regardless of who the incoming player would be.
Since his arrival in the City of Brotherly Love, Morey has swiftly reshaped the Sixers’ roster while keeping the tandem of Embiid and Simmons at the heart of the franchise. He dealt big man Al Horford to the OKC Thunder while acquiring Danny Green and Terance Ferguson. Then Morey also sent Josh Richardson to the Dallas Mavericks for Seth Curry. The Sixers also signed free agent Dwight Howard from the Lakers to bolster their frontline.
The Sixers in their first practice with new additions Dwight Howard, Seth Curry, and also Ben Simmons🔥 they have a lot of shooters via @sixers pic.twitter.com/zjsW0U25oZ
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) December 7, 2020
With his moves, Morey has addressed Philadelphia’s main weaknesses. Green and Curry add three-point shooting to a team that ranked 19th in the league in three-pointers made per game. Both will give the team excellent spacing around Embiid. Howard meanwhile, gives them a back-up that Embiid never had and his championship experience should help the team in the playoffs.
Expanding Beyond Preferred Teams
Report: Rockets expand talks beyond Harden’s preferred teams.
MORE: https://t.co/gzb5peeyQ8 pic.twitter.com/GOFGMI3S6Z
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 17, 2020
As for the Rockets, the team has reportedly expanded trade talks beyond Harden’s preferred teams. Harden has preferred to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Sixers, Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers emerged as the top destination but with their unwillingness to give Simmons or Embiid, the Rockets are starting to look elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Harden didn’t talk about his trade request during his first media appearance and was complimentary of new head coach Stephen Silas who wasn’t his choice to replace Mike D’Antoni. He made his preseason debut for the Rockets two days ago and scored 12 points in 21 minutes of action during a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
It remains to be seen where James Harden will go. What looks certain is that the Rockets will start the 2020-21 season with him on the Roster and they will go from there. Houston has already indicated that they are willing to get uncomfortable with him to find the best possible deal.