UPDATE: Harden has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets for a package including four first-round picks and four pick swaps, per reports. There were two additional teams involved and multiple players going to different locations. You can check out all the details here.
The Philadelphia 76ers are upping their pursuit of Houston Rockets All-Star guard James Harden and the current trade package could feature All-Star Ben Simmons and rookie guard Tyrese Maxey, Marc Stein of The New York Times reported Wednesday afternoon. The Rockets are reportedly going to sit Harden out while they pursue a deal for the disgruntled guard. Harden became increasingly fed up after the Rockets’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.
Update: Stein is now reporting that the Sixers are trying to compile assets to land Harden without having to let go of Maxey.
The Sixers, league sources say, are trying to muster other assets (such as draft compensation) to offer Houston to keep Tyrese Maxey out of a potential James Harden trade, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 13, 2021
Update: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Rockets are also asking for swingman Matisse Thybulle in the deal from the Sixers.
Houston Rockets are also requesting Philadelphia 76ers defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle in a trade package for James Harden, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 13, 2021
We already have reports coming from The Athletic that the Brooklyn Nets are the other team pursuing Harden. They are offering ALL of their future first-round picks and three pick swaps in exchange for Harden. We can also assume that players will need to go back to Houston in such a deal. Still, the Sixers can offer two things the Nets can’t in Simmons and Maxey. One is a proven All-Star. The other is a potential All-Star and Rookie of the Year candidate under control for the next 4-5 seasons.
This now begs the question: Does this move make the Sixers a better team? It would pair Harden up with a traditional big man in Joel Embiid, who is playing like an MVP this season. The combination of Embiid and Harden added to a core of Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Seth Curry, Shake Milton and Dwight Howard is appealing. The Sixers also have Harden’s old pal Daryl Morey running operations and one of the best player’s coaches in the NBA in Doc Rivers.