Ben Simmons trade rumors: 76ers prefer to wait on James Harden or other star in offseason, per report

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Ben Simmons remains with the Philadelphia 76ers with just over two weeks before the NBA trade deadline, and for now, it looks like he’s going to be staying longer. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Sam Amick, the 76ers are unhappy with what is currently available in the commercial market and would rather wait until the end of the season to chase a bigger prize. While Damien Lillard, Bradley Beal and Jaylen Brown remain on their radar, Philadelphia maintains some optimism that they could finally land James Harden.

Harden is currently a member of the Brooklyn Nets, and according to Ameek and Charania, when the Houston Rockets approached him when negotiating with the Nets and 76ers last season to ask his preference at a destination, he chose the Nets. It is not clear what could have changed since then.

The Harden landing will be complex for the 76 on several levels. First and foremost, they would need Brooklyn to agree to a trade supposedly centered around Simmons. Their interest in such an offer is unclear. They will also have to handle the hard cover. When a team acquires a player through signing and trading, they agree not to spend above the luxuries tax yard (a figure that’s about $6 million over the tax limit) for any reason. Doing so with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris on the list wouldn’t be an easy task.

But Harden’s pre-existing relationship with top 76ers executives from Daryl Morey has given Philadelphia hope, and according to Ameek and Charania, Morey believes Harden sees the 76ers in a positive light. Harden has never played for a man as big as Embiid, and while his Nets roster is certainly designed to compete for championships, it is built around the ocean-oriented three stars of Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Durant has suffered a number of serious injuries in recent years, and an unvaccinated Irving is currently not allowed to play home games at Barclays Center due to a mandate from New York City.

Morey’s resolve will be tested in the coming days and weeks. Embiid is playing like MVP now. Trading Simmons for help at this time will increase Philadelphia’s championship odds and ensure Embiid has the best possible chance of making the most of the best season of his career. But the 76ers are balancing the prospect of wasting one year of Embiid’s career with the heyday of his life. This is what the wrong trade can do.

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