The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets made one of the biggest midseason trades in NBA history when they swapped James Harden and Ben Simmons, among others, for each other. With it being over a year since the swap happened, Brian Lewis of The New York Post gave his thoughts on who won the deal knowing what their intentions were.
Lewis gave his thoughts on if the Sixers won the trade, factoring what could be at stake this offseason.
“Philadelphia’s gambit was a win-now move, and a title would’ve made the Sixers the clear winners no matter what happened elsewhere. But if Harden leaves, they will have never even gotten close, with their end of the ledger tallied up.”
Lewis then said whether the Nets won the trade will depend on how Simmons performs going forward.
“The Nets’ story is still being written — and with Drummond gone and Curry likely to follow, it largely will be defined by Simmons. His contract is one of the most bloated in the NBA in terms of return-on-investment. Now it’s on the Nets to find a way to salvage Simmons and make the best of the situation.”
Lewis concluded by saying that perhaps one team has won the deal, neither of which were the Nets or Sixers.
“Neither they nor the 76ers can walk away saying they won this trade. If Harden ends up returning to Houston — playing at home, alongside the picks he was traded for — the Rockets might be the real winners.”
James Harden Wants to be ‘Treated Like a God’
Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on May 19 that Harden is expected to go back to the Rockets.
“The belief among NBA executives is that James Harden will rejoin the Houston Rockets this summer.
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta ‘loves’ the 76ers point guard. The franchise expects to reunite with him,” Pompey wrote.
Pompey added why Harden would want to go back to the Rockets.
“Sources have said his interest in returning to Houston is mutual and not a ploy to get a lucrative deal out of the Sixers” Pompey said. “His mother still lives in the city. He has several business ventures there. And, as one source said, “he’s treated like a god in Houston.”
Doc Rivers Did Not Think He Would Get Fired
Marc Stein reported that Doc Rivers believed that he did enough to warrant sticking around as a head coach after being eliminated by the Boston Celtics, which of course, was not the case.
“Another strong rumbling in Chicago: Doc Rivers and his staff came away from Philadelphia’s Game 7 loss in Boston in Round 2 with the initial feeling that they would survive the 76ers’ failure to win the series after seizing a 3-2 series lead with a Game 5 win at TD Garden. That was Monday. By Tuesday morning, Rivers had been fired,” Stein wrote on his Substack on May 20.
Stein added who is being considered for the Sixers’ next head coach.
“Former Raptors coach Nick Nurse and James Harden favorite Mike D’Antoni are among a slew of veteran coaches Philly is considering in the search for Rivers’ replacement.”