1: Ben Simmons
Ah, here it is. The reason why a Harden trade is possible in the first place. Ben Simmons has yet to play a game for the Sixers this season. He requested a trade seven months ago and Morey has yet to find a suitable trade partner for the 2016 No. 1 pick.
Philadelphia’s asking price in return for Simmons remains astronomically high because the organization is holding out for a player like Damian Lillard… or Harden.
Simmons signed a five-year, $177.2 million deal with the Sixers in 2019. He’s not set to become an unrestricted free agent until the 2025 offseason and that’s over three years away. The point guard has been fined more than $19 million this year alone for missing Philadelphia’s 51 regular-season games (and counting).
He’s made over $60 million in his career but he’s at risk of losing up to $12 million more. Simmons has made a lot of money but he’s also lost a lot so it’d be in his best interest to be traded to another team, or else he’s going to continue to get fined.
Simmons is in Philadelphia and has been staying in shape by working out in various locations, from smaller gyms to the Sixers’ facilities.
Last season, he averaged a career-low of 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.9 assists in the 58 games that he played in. He shot 55.7% from the field and 30% from behind the arc. So, no, if he were to be traded to Brooklyn, he wouldn’t be able to make up for the missing Joe Harris.
Honestly, it’s hard to tell what his fit would be with the Nets without seeing it play out in real-time. However, the trade for Harden hasn’t exactly been a home run either.
Would Harden be better off in Philadelphia running pick-and-rolls with Embiid? Although he denied the reports, does he actually want to leave Brooklyn? The absolute disinterested effort that he displayed on Wednesday night wasn’t encouraging.
If Morey pulled off a Simmons-Harden trade before 3 p.m. next Tuesday, he’d become an absolute legend in Philadelphia. Are the Nets the suitor that Simmons has been hoping for?