It’s time for your Ben Simmons rumor of the day.
This week, we’ve aggregated reporting from various NBA insiders. Sam Amick and Shams Charania say the Sixers prefer James Harden in a Simmons deal. Keith Pompey’s sources say it’s “Harden all the way.” Kendrick Perkins later added that Harden is a little miffed with Brooklyn, and would like to play with Joel Embiid.
BUT NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND, as Lee Corso would say.
The Brooklyn Nets won’t listen to trade-deadline overtures for All-NBA guard James Harden, a resolve rooted in Harden’s repeated insistences to ownership and management that he is committed to staying and winning a championship with the franchise, sources told ESPN.
Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks are buoyed not only by Harden’s consistent internal stance but the shared public and private belief among superstars Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving that the three make the Nets an unstoppable team when playing together.
The Philadelphia 76ers‘ plans for a potential pursuit of Harden this summer have been no secret anywhere in the league, but the Sixers have yet to make the Nets a trade offer ahead of the Feb. 10 deadline, sources said. The Nets don’t plan to engage any team — including the Sixers — that might try to pry Harden ahead of his possible free agency this summer, sources said.
The conflict here comes from Woj saying that Harden told ownership and management he is “committed.” Most of the previously reported Harden smoke suggested that this would be a summer overture, instead of a February Sixers push, so it’s less about the timing and more about trying to get into Harden’s head to see what he really wants to do. That’s the root of the conflicting information.
Harden will turn 33 in August. He did not sign an extension this year but could stay with the Nets by exercising a $47 million player option for 2022-2023. Otherwise, he’d be opting out to become a free agent, or Brooklyn could work a sign-and-trade with him.