The Shocking Reason Sixers Almost Didn’t Trade For James Harden

James Harden, Sixers

Getty James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on ahead of playing the Toronto Raptors during warm ups before their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on October 26, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Philadelphia 76ers’ decision to trade a package built around Ben Simmons in exchange for James Harden was a franchise-altering moment. The Sixers were at a crossroads due to Simmons’ decision to hold out as he demanded a trade from the organization. The Australian was looked at as one of the building blocks of the franchise after he was selected with the first overall pick by the team. Getting the trade wrong could have shut the Sixers’ championship window completely and Daryl Morey waited patiently for months before the opportunity he desired appeared.

However, Doc Rivers recently revealed that his own daughter attempted to step in and prevent the trade from occurring. While on HBO’s “Back On The Record With Bob Costas,” Rivers revealed his daughter, who married Seth Curry in 2019 called him and tried to shut down a potential exit from Philadelphia. As Rivers put it:

“Trading Seth, I had to deal with my daughter … who had two young babies. That’s a completely different thing,” Rivers explained. “The night before, because there was a rumor it was going to happen, I get a call from my daughter. ‘Listen! Are you gonna do it or not?’ And I said, ‘You know, Callie, I can’t…’ [She says], ‘I’m your daughter!’ I said, ‘Well, Callie, I don’t know. I can’t…’ ‘I’m your daughter!’ That was a tough one,”- Rivers on Back On The Record With Bob Costas.

Curry’s Career Arc

While he may never fill the massive shoes of his brother Steph Curry, Seth has carved out a nice career for himself. There were plenty of people outside of the Rivers family tree who were upset that he left Philadelphia as well. In his two seasons with the Sixers, Curry averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds while connecting on 42.6% of his three-point attempts. Curry was especially effective in two-man sets with Joel Embiid which proved to be a key part of the Sixers’ offense.

He has not had as expanded of a role in Brooklyn as was the case in Philadelphia. However, Curry continues to provide an offensive spark to the team. He also has battled ankle injuries during this time. Rivers also revealed that things worked out with his daughter as Brooklyn is not too far away. “Well, she ended up in Brooklyn and she is the happiest ever. And for me, I can still get in my car and in 90 minutes, I can be in Brooklyn, so it turned out okay,” Rivers told Costas.

Harden’s Impact on the Sixers

Sixers fans should be grateful that the call from his daughter did not sway the decision-making as Harden has been an effective addition to the franchise. The 33-year-old has averaged 21.3 points, 10.3 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game during his time with the team. He has provided some new looks to the Sixers’ offense such as improved pick-and-roll production with Embiid and creating better looks for all of his teammates. Harden has also flashed an improved ability from the version of player he showed to be last year by returning in better shape and looking to be fully healthy. He is currently recovering from an ankle injury, and the Sixers have missed his presence on the court in a major way.

In contrast, there has not been as warm of reception to Simmons in Brooklyn. The three-time all-star is averaging 5.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game during his 26.6 minutes per game so far this season. While some level of rust was to be expected after his extended time off, the Nets have not been satisfied with the level of play or commitment he has shown thus far.

The Sixers will continue to count down the days until Harden makes his return to the court so they can reach their full potential as a team. Despite the slow start, they have climbed back to 7-7 on the season which currently puts them in 9th place in the Eastern Conference. There is still plenty of work to be done, but the outlook of the organization appears significantly better than it was at this time a year ago.

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