Sixers Interested in Pistons Star, James Harden: Report

jerami grant trade new york knicks

Getty Nerlens Noel defends Jerami Grant.

Damian Lillard was the expected first name revealed on a list of 30 players being targeted by the Sixers in a Ben Simmons’ trade. Now two more less exciting ones are public knowledge.

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that team president Daryl Morey has his eyes on James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) and Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons). The latter would be the centerpiece of a larger package, possibly including Kelly Olynyk and Saddiq Bey.

The Harden rumor is nothing new considering Morey tried to acquire his former employee from Houston last year at the trade deadline. However, it would be shocking to see Brooklyn put him on the trading block. The only way the Nets consider moving him would be if they decide to blow everything up in the wake of the Kyrie Irving aftermath. He’s being suspended until he gets vaccinated.

Or maybe Harden opts out. As Pompey pointed out, Harden didn’t sign a contract extension in Brooklyn and owns a player-option for $47.4 million next season.

“Several members of the front office are keen on the idea of keeping Simmons this season,” wrote Pompey, “and pursuing Harden from the Brooklyn Nets for a sign and trade, according to multiple sources.”


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Former Draft Pick Returns to Philly?

Grant certainly lacks the star power of Harden, but the 27-year-old has quietly developed into one of the best young forwards in basketball. Grant averaged 22.3 points, 4.6 boards, 2.8 assists, 1.1 blocks per game during his breakout 2020-21 campaign. He was a finalist for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

Grant has familiarity with the Sixers’ organization having been drafted 34th overall by them in 2014. He’s a solid rim attacker who initiated contact on 14.4% of his shot attempts, per Cleaning The Glass. Teaming him up with Joel Embiid could be a lethal one-two punch, one that would generate a lot of trips to the charity stripe.

Sixers Snap Five-Game Losing Streak

The Sixers snapped their five-game losing streak on Thursday night despite not having Embiid again. The All-Star big man remains in the COVID-19 protocol, but his teammates gutted out a 103-89 win over Denver.

Tyrese Maxey (22 points) and Seth Curry (20 points) shined bright, with Tobias Harris (17 points) slowly getting back to his normal self. The real star was rookie center Charles Bassey who exploded for 12 points, seven points, three blocks in 19 minutes.

The second-rounder finished plus-20 and earned high praise from his head coach, especially for his tough defense on Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.

“Bassey was great,” Doc Rivers told reporters. “I think he had two or three rebounds where he caught it and instead of trying to go out and turn it over, threw it out that led to threes, he did a lot of good things. I’m happy for him.”

In addition to Embiid, the Sixers were missing Matisse Thybulle (COVID-19) and Danny Green (hamstring). Rivers went with a starting five of Curry, Maxey, Harris, Andre Drummond, Georges Niang. Drummond recorded his 9,000th career rebound in the fourth quarter.

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