Bill Simmons Calls Out ‘Way More Realistic’ Landing Spot for James Harden

James Harden

Getty James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers

With the Bradley Beal sweepstakes underway, Bill Simmons explained that the Philadelphia 76ers will not be among the participants because it appears that James Harden‘s return to the team is likely.

Simmons revealed the likelihood of Harden returning to the Sixers on the June 16 episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.”

“I’ll tell you this. Heard last night from a little birdie – Harden going back to Philly is way more realistic and probable than everyone’s giving it credit for, including myself, up until yesterday when I heard about this. Because everyone was like, ‘Oh, he’s going to Houston.’ There’s been some Philly buzz, and I think that’s one of the reasons why they’re not in the Beal sweepstakes.”

There is a scenario where the Sixers could have Harden and Beal on the same team, as they could use Tobias Harris, Danuel House, and Montrezl Harrell’s expiring contracts to match Beal’s, among other assets to offer. However, having Harden and Beal on the team could prove to be redundant since both play similar positions and have similar skillsets.

Sixers Not Expected to Target Fred VanVleet & Bradley Beal

On June 15, NBA Insider Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports revealed that the Sixers aren’t expected to target Fred VanVleet or Beal even if Harden leaves this summer.

Fischer revealed that the Sixers won’t go after VanVleet despite his connections to head coach Nick Nurse

“But Philadelphia, sources said, is not expected to target Fred VanVleet in the event Harden departs via free agency, despite the obvious connection to new Sixers head coach Nick Nurse, who won a championship with VanVleet in Toronto in 2019.”

Fischer added that they won’t go after Beal either, regardless of Harden’s decision.

“The Philadelphia 76ers…are also not expected to target Beal, league sources told Yahoo Sports, regardless of whether Harden decides to remain with the franchise.”

The fact there have been multiple reports revealing that the Sixers have no interest in Beal – on top of Fischer’s report that they don’t plan to chase VanVleet – could also signify how confident they are that Harden will return to the team this offseason.

Why the Sixers Aren’t Interested in Bradley Beal

Following Shams Charania’s report on June 14 that Beal and the Washington Wizards plan to work together to find Beal a new team, John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported not only that the Sixers won’t be among Beal’s suitors but explained why the Sixers won’t be interested in him.

“It’s my understanding the Sixers probably will not be a suitor for Bradley Beal. He has a big contract for a lot of money & with the new CBA with aprons that does not allow for much flexibility for roster building. And Sixers believe Tyrese Maxey can be an All-Star caliber player,” Clark wrote via his personal Twitter on June 14.

Beal will be paid 46.7 million this coming season, and that will only go higher season by season leading up to the 2026-27 season, where he will be paid upwards of $57 million if he exercises his player option. As Reynolds said, the Sixers likely won’t want to pay that because of the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement.