The newest Ben Simmons’ trade rumor has the disgruntled Philadelphia 76ers star heading to Atlanta. The initial thought was to swap Simmons for some kind of package involving Hawks playmakers John Collins and Cam Reddish. Wait, there’s more to it.
Sixers president Daryl Morey might be discussing a multi-player deal with Tobias Harris joining Simmons on that midnight train to Georgia. On the latest episode of ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast, Brian Windhorst and Marc J. Spears discussed the parameters of a Sixers-Hawks trade and what they are hearing. Both plugged-in reporters brought up Harris’ name:
Spears: I think it’s a long shot, and it’s not because of Ben. It’s because I’m hearing that they want to include Tobias Harris.
Windhorst: Me too.
Spears: That is the word out there. Because they can’t necessarily get an All-Star that they want in return right now, as the Sixers have continued their talks, they’ve talked to teams about trading Tobias and Ben.
Moving Simmons and Harris together doesn’t make a ton of sense at first glance. That’s almost $80 million in salary coming off the books next year. What team would want to inherit that massive hit? The Sixers would need a third team to enter into talks.
And a trade of that magnitude still wouldn’t accomplish Morey’s reported goal of acquiring one superstar player like Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard – unless, of course, he is just trying to clear cap space to lure James Harden to Philly. Harden has a player option he could choose to exercise this summer.
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Wizards’ Kyle Kuzma Mocks Proposed Trade
Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma came out of nowhere to mock a potential Harris-Simmons deal. It’s unclear why Kuzma might have a problem with the Sixers. Maybe he’s mad at the organization for selecting Andzejs Pasecniks two spots ahead of him in the 2017 draft? Or perhaps Kuzma likes throwing shade at Simmons over mutual ex-girlfriend Kendall Jenner?
Either way, the former second-rounder took time out of his busy day to make his thoughts known. And they weren’t good ones.
Kuzma appeared to be making fun of the sizeable contracts involved in a Sixers-Hawks trade. Simmons is due $35.4 million in 2022 (via Spotrac), with another $78.2 million left over the next two years. Harris is due $37.6 million in 2022 (via Spotrac), with another $39.3 owed in 2023.
Sixers Win Seventh Straight Game
Meanwhile, things are looking up in Philadelphia where the Sixers won their seventh straight game on Monday night. It’s a season-high winning streak for the fifth-place team in the Eastern Conference. They are doing it with MVP candidate Joel Embiid seemingly setting a new franchise record every night. Head coach Doc Rivers told reporters he knew the tide was about to turn.
“We’ve had to do it a lot of different ways,” Rivers said following a 111-91 win over Houston, via The Associated Press. “Right before this streak started, I said this team was about to get rolling. You could just feel it. Our guys have finally found a way to play no matter who is on the floor. It’s also nice that our best player is playing dominating basketball right now.”