Ben Simmons’ sudden, unexpected arrival at the Philadelphia 76ers‘ latest exhibition game has the hoops world buzzing about a potential reconciliation. However, even if Simmons’ holdout does come to an end and he hits the hardwood for Philly, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and others have indicated that the team is still exploring trade options.
To that end, Sixers president Daryl Morey may once again be targeting an old friend and three-time NBA scoring champion.
On the October 12 episode of First Take, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith demonstrively stated that the Sixers’ top decision-maker has continued to kick the tires on potential James Harden deals.
“Now you might lose James Harden because Daryl Morey is lurking in Philadelphia. Don’t think for one second that Daryl Morey ain’t trying to get his hands on James Harden,” Smith declared. “I’m telling you what I know.”
A Kyrie Irving Ripple Effect?
Mentions of Harden, Morey and the Sixers on First Take were born out of discussion about the latest development in the Kyrie Irving saga. The seven-time All-Star and 2016 NBA champion has made headlines with his apparent refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and Smith is of the opinion that Irving’s situation could impact the Brooklyn Nets’ other stars.
Per New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, people are required to have proof of at least one vaccine shot in order to enter indoor gyms, i.e. Barclays Center — the Nets’ home arena. Although Irving could technically still play in away games, Nets GM Sean Marks announced on Tuesday that the point guard would be held out until he was in full compliance with the local mandate.
“Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability,” Marks said in a statement, via ESPN.
“It is imperative that we continue to build chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-established values of togetherness and sacrifice.”
Although reports have indicated that an Irving-Simmons trade probably isn’t in the cards, Smith’s intimation is that team disharmony created by Irving may put the Nets and/or their other stars in a position to consider some kind of change. And Morey has coveted Harden in the past.
The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!
The Sixers Nearly Pulled off a Harden-Simmons Swap Previously
Whether or not Harden is a legitimate possibility, Morey has definitely pushed hard to acquire his former Houston Rockets cohort in the past. When Harden was looking for a change of scenery in January, the Sixers were angling to acquire him, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey.
Simmons and Matisse Thybulle were even informed by their agents of an expected trade, per the report.
Pompey further relayed that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was reluctant to deal with Morey, who had just left Houston himself. Moreover, the Rockets reportedly wanted Tyrese Maxey to be included in any package from Philly. In the end, Harden was shipped off to Brooklyn.
- Sixers Show Well in Annual NBA GM Survey
- Sixers Rookie Benefiting From Camp Battles With Joel Embiid
- Embiid Wants the Sixers to Make This Change on Offense
- Redick Wishes He Had Remained With the Sixers