It’s the NBA saga that just keeps on giving.
Ben Simmons is still sitting, the Philadelphia 76ers are still holding firm, and new theories continue to emerge about the whole situation as the February 10 trade deadline nears.
The latest? A new name in the Simmons trade package… and a long-term view at a league-altering sign-and-trade.
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Fri, 14 Jan
Friday January 14th
According to Marc J. Spears of ESPN, a deal for Simmons between the Sixers and Atlanta Hawks hit a hurdle after Philadelphia threw in another player: Tobias Harris.
“I think it’s a longshot, and it’s not because of Ben,” Spears said on the Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective. “I’m hearing they want to include Tobias Harris.
“So, that’s a lot of money, man. It’s already complicated enough to trade Ben Simmons.”
Simmons is in the second year of a five-year, $US177 million ($A245m) deal. Harris is in the third year of a five-year, $180 million ($A250m) contract.
That’s a lot of money to move in one deal.
“That is the word out there,” Windhorst said, confirming he’d heard the same. “Because they can’t necessarily get an All-Star that they want in return right now, that as the Sixers have continued their talks, they’ve talked to teams about trading Tobias and Ben.”
Spears made clear: “Atlanta was interested, until they brought Tobias’ name up.”
And while Harris, who has had a sub-par season to date, might have just reached his expiry date in Philadelphia, Windhorst posited a different theory.
“So I asked the question, why would they be looking to offload Tobias Harris?” Windhorst said. “And what executives think … one of their options is they want to make a run at James Harden next summer.
Windhorst clarified: “Some executives in the NBA believe that one of the end games for Ben Simmons is that he’s traded for James Harden in a sign-and-trade next summer.”
Harden has a player option in the upcoming off-season, and can either choose to stay on in Brooklyn, or hit free agency after putting off an extension with the Nets.