NBA Rumors: Sixers ‘Signaled A Willingness’ To Trade Ben Simmons For James Harden, Per ‘ESPN’

Since the 2020 offseason started, the Philadelphia 76ers have been informing everyone in the league that they have no intention of breaking up their young superstar duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Instead of immediately giving up on their two franchise cornerstones, the Sixers decided to build a more competitive roster around Embiid and Simmons. However, with days before the 2020-21 NBA season officially begins, it seems like the Sixers have changed their stance.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Sixers have a “signaled a willingness” to include Simmons in the package that they could potentially send to the Houston Rockets to acquire All-Star shooting guard James Harden.

“While the Sixers have signaled a willingness to include All-Star guard Ben Simmons in trade packages for Harden, those talks have come nowhere close to a deal, sources said.”

The Sixers have been heavily linked to Harden from the time he demanded a trade from the Rockets. With former Houston general manager Daryl Morey currently serving as the team’s president of basketball operations, Philadelphia emerged as one of Harden’s preferred landing spots. Trading Simmons for “The Beard” would likely be a difficult decision for the Sixers.

However, it’s arguably the type of move that they should make in order to boost their chances of dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship in 2020-21. Compared to Simmons, Harden could be a much better fit with Embiid. Sharing the floor with an elite three-point shooter like Harden might maximize Embiid’s full potential on the court and enable him to focus on punishing opponents under the basket.

Losing Simmons wouldn’t hurt the Sixers’ offense since aside from being a very reliable scoring option, Harden is also capable of making plays for his teammates. Last season, the 31-year-old shooting guard averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.8 steals while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

On Twitter, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy gave additional updates on the ongoing negotiation between the Sixers and the Rockets. Aside from Simmons, the Sixers also reportedly offered Tyrese Maxey and picks to the Rockets. However, Robinson revealed that Houston is demanding a package that includes Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and at least three future first-round picks.

Less than an hour after the rumors about the Simmons-Harden blockbuster surfaced in the league, Morey denied that they are willing to move the former No. 1 overall pick. According to a Twitter post by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Morey said that they “are not trading Simmons,” adding that “he is an important part of our future.”

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