'Ecstatic' Simmons escapes NBA trade axe

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  01/14/2021 03:18:18  2  Sacha Mirzabegian

After months of denial from the Philadelphia 76ers about their plans to trade Ben Simmons in a package for James Harden, the Sixers' true intentions have been laid bare after the disgruntled Houston star was this morning (AEDT) traded to Brooklyn.

While the Sixers new president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, and coach Doc Rivers have maintained that Simmons was not part of any trade scenario that they would entertain for Harden, The Athletic's NBA insider Shams Charania reported the Australian was in fact part of a deal to entice the Rockets into trading Harden to the Sixers. However, the Rockets viewed Philadelphia's offer as inferior to Brooklyn's, leading to the blockbuster move that rejigs the power balance in the NBA.

Houston agreed to an astonishing, four-team trade for Harden and will send the former league MVP to the Nets in exchange for a long list of unprotected draft picks and draft swaps.

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers passes over Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets. (Getty)

"To my knowledge, (the Sixers) did put Ben Simmons in their proposals, but at the end of the day, the Nets offer just supplanted that," Charania wrote.

"They want to be very disciplined in their process and not mortgage their entire future along with Ben Simmons and a few young players."

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Morey was in discussion with the Houston Rockets on a trade centred around Simmons and rookie Tyrese Maxey.

Ben Simmons faces of with James Harden. (Getty)

While some claim the rejection of the Sixers deal might point to Simmons' value in the NBA dropping, one must also consider Morey's exit from the Rockets.

Morey left Houston citing personal reasons because he wanted a year away from basketball after his contract expired following 13 seasons running the franchise's basketball operations.

Within weeks he signed with the Sixers to head their basketball operations. The move was said to have blindsided the Rockets.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported in November, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta specifically didn't like the idea of trading Harden to Morey. "Will Tilman Fertitta trade James Harden to Daryl Morey? I've been told probably not," O'Connor wrote. "I think Morey would offer way more than just Ben Simmons, but I've still been told unlikely that Fertitta wouldn't trade him to Morey."

Joe Vardon of The Athletic, reports Simmons is "fine" after being tabled for trade however his relationship with management and new coach Doc Rivers could be impacted after they repeatedly denied he would be considered in a move.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated added Simmons was "pretty ecstatic" to not be dealt to Houston, as he believes the Sixers are capable of winning a championship.

Through 10 games with Philadelphia this season, the 24-year-old has averaged 12.6 points, 8.5 rebound and 7.5 assists.

His points, assists, and field goal percentage are down on his usual career average, while his fouls and turnovers are at a career high.

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