For the second year in a row, there are James Harden rumors, this time it seems real.
A season ago when rumors began to swirl, it didn’t seem like the Sixers would actually move on from a 24 year old Ben Simmons for an aging Harden pushing his way out of Houston.
Harden would go on to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets to be partnered with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant as the Nets looked to build the next super team. This all but killed Philly fans’ dream of Harden suiting up in the red, white and blue Sixers uniform… So they thought.
Here we are a year later and Harden is yet again pushing his way out. The Nets dysfunction go far beyond Harden as Kyrie Irving is playing part-time and Kevin Durant struggles to stay healthy. The Nets big three has only played 16 games together all season and are in the midst of a 7 game losing streak, no team has come back to win a championship while enduring a losing streak of this magnitude.
Last year, Simmons was in the midst of his third straight season being named an All-Star and by all accounts was happy to be in Philadelphia but this time around, Ben Simmons wants out. Simmons has been holding out since August and does not sound like he wants to play for the Sixers ever again making the Sixers and Nets a trade partner match made in heaven.
James Harden to the Sixers would bring exactly what the Sixers need, a superstar to pair with Joel Embiid. Embiid has skyrocketed in the MVP conversation and has somehow gotten better than last year. It’s clear that the Sixers need help, they cannot win a championship as currently constructed. Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Seth Curry, and Danny Green are all nice counterparts but they are not what the Sixers need.
Ben Simmons on the Nets would be almost a perfect fit. In Philadelphia, the Sixers required Ben Simmons to be the second option on offense, and that is just not who Simmons is. Simmons would fit perfectly with the Irving and Durant pair, as his best offensive attribute is his passing ability. For Simmons, it would be a dream come true to just be able to play to his individual strengths and let Irving and Durant do the hard work. There is no better fit for Simmons than the Brooklyn Nets.
The issue with the trade isn’t the money or the fit, it’s the add on players. Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle’s names have been thrown out as a deal sweetener for the Nets but at this stage in their careers, Maxey and Thybulle are far beyond deal sweeteners. They are legitimate pieces that the Sixers must keep if they want to make a run at the playoffs.
If the Sixers and Nets can strike a deal before Tuesday’s trade deadline, it would turn both teams into legitimate contenders this season. They both have the pieces ready to win, it’s just a matter of making them fit. Harden and Simmons would be the perfect move for both teams to make.
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