“Brooklyn was ready to move off of James Harden. It was clear that he didn’t want to be there anymore. They got enough back to try to put a team on the floor for this year and for years to come.” – Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN Senior NBA Insider)
The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired James Harden in trade for Ben Simmons. The Nets and 76ers organizations have engaged in trade discussions all week in pursuit to trade two unhappy superstars looking for a new roster. This blockbuster trade sends James Harden and Paul Millsap to the 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks in 2022 and 2027. Harden has vocalized his frustrations as the Nets are on a nine-game losing streak. The Absence of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has backfired on the Nets leaving Harden no choice but to seek his option to depart to the 76ers. With the addition of Simmons, the Nets will have a new big 3 as he will join KD and Kyrie in Brooklyn. How often they will play together still remains contingent depending on how soon Simmons returns to play and Kyrie’s availability. Together the Nets will remain as a top contender in the Eastern Conference. The Nets returned as the favoured to win the NBA title, with added shooting ability courtesy of Seth curry and the defensive prowess and playmaking of Simmons. As for the 76ers, James Harden will join Joel Embiid, a duo whose combined scoring average is about 50 ppg this season. For the first time in his career, Joel Embiid will team up with an MVP in Harden. The next matchup between the Nets and 76ers will be on March 10th in Philly, a game that Kyrie Irving and Durant will be expected to play. This will be a preview of the potential matchup of the Eastern Conference finals. The most significant part of this trade is that Brooklyn is looking to retool their roster for the future with the added draft picks and their long-term investment in Kevin Durant. As for the 76ers, James Harden will become a free agent after this season and is expected to re-sign with the 76ers on a supermax deal. A plan that GM Daryl Morey’s had since he become the GM for the 76ers. In recent years, Morey tried to trade for Harden prior to him going to the Brooklyn Nets. Harden reunites with his former GM in hope of securing his first NBA championship.