Days before the NBA lifts the moratorium for trades, several crazy trade ideas have started surfacing on the web. These include a three-way blockbuster deal involving Russell Westbrook and James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Ben Simmons of the Philadephia 76ers. In the proposed scenario by NBA Analysis Network, the Sixers would get Harden and Robert Covington; the Rockets would receive Simmons, Al Horford, Matisse Thybulle, Malik Monk, the No. 3 and 21 picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, and a first-round selection in 2021 and 2022; and the Charlotte Hornets would acquire Westbrook and Tobias Harris.
The Sixers would be the ones who would benefit the most from the suggested trade. Aside from successfully getting rid of the lucrative contracts of Horford and Harris, it would allow them to pair Joel Embiid with one of the best scorers in league history in Harden and bring back a fan-favorite three-and-D wingman in the City of Brotherly Love.
“James Harden is the cornerstone piece here but fans were not happy when they got rid of Robert Covington. He is a true ‘3-and-D’ player who is extremely valuable. The 76ers need both of those qualities. The Simmons-Joel Embiid experiment has not worked so why not give the Embiid-Harden test a try? This would keep the 76ers as contenders in the Eastern Conference. Harden would have a chance in the easier of the conferences. If the personalities of the two stars match up, this could be a beneficial trade for the 76ers.”
Though it would cost them one of their franchise cornerstones, it wouldn’t be surprising if Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey would pull the trigger on such a trade. Compared to Simmons, Harden would be a much better fit with Embiid. Having an elite three-point shooter like Harden would enable Embiid to maximize his full potential dominating under the basket.
If they find the perfect chemistry, the duo of Harden and Embiid would give the Sixers their own version of the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal duo, which would increase their chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and ending their years of title drought.
The proposed deal would not only be beneficial for the Rockets, but also for the Hornets and the Rockets. For the Hornets, the potential acquisition of Westbrook and Harris would turn them from a rebuilding team into a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. In Charlotte, Westbrook would be able to assume the role as the main guy, while having the opportunity to start a new journey with the Hornets would allow Harris to revive his career and start living up to expectations from the massive contract he signed last summer.
Meanwhile, the hypothetical three-way blockbuster would make a lot of sense for the Rockets if they finally decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Simmons would become the centerpiece of the next title-contending team that they would try to build in Houston with Monk and Thybulle as supporting casts. Using the first-rounders, the Rockets could further solidify their young core and speed up the rebuilding process.