NBA 2022: Ben Simmons trade for James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, trade news

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Ben Simmons could well be traded before the mid-season deadline after a rival came to the table, willing to swap on of its superstars.

There is still a slim chance Ben Simmons could be traded before the NBA’s mid-season deadline on February 11 after a rival reportedly came to the table with a blockbuster offer.

Since Simmons requested to be traded in the off-season, Philadelphia 76ers’ president Daryl Morey has refused to accept anything less than a genuine superstar in return for the Australian-born guard.

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But the Sixers boss may finally get his wish. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Brooklyn Nets are open to discussing a potential in-season trade around James Harden and Simmons ahead of the trade deadline.

If a deal is struck it would be an eye-watering trade, with Simmons and Harden contracted for a combined US$227 million (A$321 million).

The two Eastern Conference teams are expected to enter into discussions next week around a trade that could also see Sixers Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle included in a package for Harden.

The number of teams interested in Simmons has dwindled in recent weeks, with the Sacramento Kings reportedly pulling out of the race.

Charania reports the Atlanta Hawks have been the team most keen to facilitate a trade for Simmons in exchange for John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and draft picks.

The Minnestota Timberwolves are still in the mix but reportedly won’t meet the Sixers’ demands for draft capital, while the Washington Wizards are unlikely to trade franchise star Bradley Beal before the deadline.

Philadelphia has long viewed Harden as a trade target to reunite with Morey, who was the general manager of the Houston Rockets when Harden won the NBA MVP in 2018.

The Sixers had hoped to recruit Harden after this season when he became a free agent, but now a surprise in-season trade appears on the cards.

The 32-year-old is a prolific scorer and the Sixers would immediately become a championship threat with him playing alongside Joel Embiid, who is enjoying an MVP-calibre season.

Despite the absence of Simmons, Philadelphia sit third in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Nets are on a six-game losing streak and have slumped to sixth in the East, just 1.5 games out of the precarious play-in qualification.

Brooklyn’s star trio of Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have only managed to play 16 games together over two seasons due to Irving’s unwillingness to get vaccinated, Harden’s niggling injuries and Durant currently on the sidelines with a knee injury.

With their big three on the court, the Nets boast a near-unstoppable offence, but their leaky defence has been an issue for them.

Simmons, an All-NBA defender and one of the best defenders in the league, would undoubtedly help Brooklyn concede less points and make them a genuine championship contender.

Time will tell if the Sixers and the Nets can reach a deal before the deadline. If they do, it will be a blockbuster trade that will shake up the NBA season and turn the title race on its head.

Originally published as Blockbuster $321 million Ben Simmons trade would turn NBA on its head



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