The hoops blogosphere has been flush with chatter about who the Philadelphia 76ers might be willing to take back in a trade for Ben Simmons. Most recently, the Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant and James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets were reported as being on the list.
Harden’s name wasn’t a surprise; Sixers president Daryl Morey has coveted his old Rockets pal before, and the Beard is a former NBA MVP. However, the idea that Philly would be willing to swap Simmons for Grant came as a shocker for a multitude of reasons.
Simply put — and with all due respect to Grant, who is a fine player — one of these things is not like the other.
In any case, Sixers fans who had nonetheless gotten down with the notion that the Pistons star could be coming back to Philly should probably pump the brakes. A new report has indicated that the Grant scenario may be lacking for substance.
Neubeck: Pistons Discussions ‘of Little Interest’
Per PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck, reports of the Sixers’ interest in Grant may be somewhat overstated. Or, at the very least, they’re outdated. Wrote Neubeck:
According to sources, those discussions were not just old and presently inactive, they were of little interest to the Sixers. The team’s list of players they’d be interested in acquiring for Simmons, recently referred to by Sam Amick in a report for The Athletic, does not include Grant, a source familiar with the situation tells PhillyVoice.
Neubeck further indicated that it would take the inclusion of this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham, for the Sixers to do any Simmons-related business with the Pistons. And that wouldn’t be a slam dunk move, either, due to Cunningham’s youth amid the Sixers’ title aspirations.
Through his first 11 games, Cunningham has averaged 14.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals per contest.
There is also significant overlap between Grant and Sixers star Tobias Harris. According to Neubeck, Philly would only ignore an incoming player’s positional fit with the current roster for a major star. And Grant probably comes up just short of holding that distinction.
In other words, this one probably isn’t happening.
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Loss in PDX Drops Sixers to 10th
Joel Embiid’s continued absence as a result of health and safety protocols hampered the Sixers once again over the weekend. On November 20, rumored Sixers target Damian Lillard dropped 39 points to lead his Portland Trail Blazers to a 118-111 win over the Sixers.
Philly got a combined 56 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds from Harris and Tyrese Maxey, but the team was minus-15 in the three-point battle. Additionally, the Sixers’ offense wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders at times, with slow-developing plays and a lack of movement contributing to an overabundance of iso ball on some possessions.
Also — Andre Drummond has been a net negative when filling in for Embiid. In games that Drummond has started, the Sixers have been outscored by five points per 100 possessions when he has been on the court. Surprisingly, they have suffered the most on the defensive side; Drummond’s D-rating checks in at 114.6 for those games.
The Sixers have lost six of the seven games that Embiid has missed recently and currently find themselves in 10th place in the Eastern Conference at 9-8.