It sounds as though the Philadelphia 76ers may not have to wait until the offseason to trade disgruntled star Ben Simmons after all. Recent reports suggested that the Sixers wanted to wait until more star players were available this summer before exploring a trade centered around Simmons, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday that the Brooklyn Nets are open to discussing a trade ahead of the deadline where James Harden would be sent to Philly in exchange for Simmons.
This is a reverse from recent reports suggesting that Brooklyn did not plan on listening to any trade offers for Harden leading up to the deadline. But according to Charania, there’s a sense of urgency within the Nets’ organization this season, as they view it as a “critical year in Kevin Durant’s prime.” This report comes at a time when the Nets aren’t playing their best basketball. Durant is currently sidelined with a sprained MCL, and during that time Brooklyn has gone just 2-7 and is currently on a six-game losing streak.
The Nets view a potential Simmons-for-Harden swap as an opportunity to get Brooklyn more depth, with Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle all being potential add-ons to the deal. However, the Sixers reportedly would not include Maxey in a deal for Harden, per CBS Sports’ Michael Kaskey-Blomain. Philadelphia has been resistant in the past to trade Maxey, most recently when the team looked to acquire Harden originally from the Rockets. But with Joel Embiid playing at an MVP-level again, and the Sixers climbing up to the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 31-20 record, Philadelphia clearly wants to take advantage of this season and almost certainly will be a piece that the Nets ask for in any return for Harden.