In exchange for James Harden, a past Most Valuable Player Award winner, the Brooklyn Nets moved him to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday in exchange for a package that included Ben Simmons, a three-time All-Star point guard who has missed the most of the season due to personal issues.
After recent discussions with James and his representatives, the Nets’ general manager said the decision to trade him was difficult. “However, after recent discussions with James and his representatives, we felt that this move would be best for all involved, as it better positions us to achieve our goals this season and in the years ahead.”
A quick and unexpected conclusion comes as a result of the deal, bringing the great trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden to an end. In part because of injuries, but also because of Irving’s refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, the three stars had only appeared in 16 games together since Harden was acquired from Houston in a trade last season. Irving’s refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus has made him ineligible to play in home games in Brooklyn. Irving was also restricted from participating in road games and practises until the middle of December by the Nets.
The Nets will also get two first-round selections in exchange for Seth Curry, a sharpshooting guard; Andre Drummond, a backup centre and one of the finest rebounders in NBA history; and two second-round picks in exchange for Andre Drummond. Paul Millsap, a four-time All-Star forward who hasn’t seen any action this season, is also being traded by the Brooklyn Nets.
This season, Simmons has yet to play a minute on the court for the 32-22 Sixers. The Philadelphia 76ers’ coach, Doc Rivers, and All-Star centre Joel Embiid were both critical of Simmons following the team’s dismal performance in the second-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks last season. Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, told The Athletic in November that the stress had taken a toll on Simmons’ mental health and that he was not physically or mentally prepared to return to the court.
If he is able to play right now, the Nets may make use of his services. They have been in free decline for the last 10 games, including a loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday. They were already in ninth place in the Eastern Conference before the loss. Durant hasn’t played since Jan. 15 due to a knee ailment, and he told TNT that he didn’t have a date for his comeback but that he was “definitely feeling better.” Because of a hamstring ailment, Harden has been out since February 2, when he put up an ineffective 4-point effort in a defeat to the Sacramento Kings. Irving has only appeared in 13 of the Nets’ 55 games this season.
Harden will be reunited with Daryl Morey, the president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, as a result of the deal. They had their most recent collaboration in Houston, where Morey served as general manager. Morey announced his resignation from the Rockets on November 1, 2020, and he joined the 76ers the next day. Harden was dealt from the Rockets to the Nets in January 2021.
Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers finished in first position in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. This season, they are in fifth place in the conference, three games behind the Miami Heat.
Because Simmons hasn’t played yet, trade rumours have been swirling around him like wildfire. The 76ers have dropped three of their previous four games as a result of this uptick in intensity during the last few days. Rivers decided to postpone practise on Thursday in order to give his squad a rest.
Embiid, who leads the league in points per game with 29.4 and ranks ninth in rebounds per game with 10.9, is one of the top players in the league for the Sixers, who have retained one of the greatest players in the league.
Tyrese Maxey, a second-year guard, has also performed well in his extended minutes this season – he has topped the 76ers in minutes played per game this season and has averaged 16.9 points per game. He will participate in the league’s game for the league’s finest first- and second-year players, which will take place during All-Star Weekend next week.