Whole lot of posturing going down.
In the latest report out of Philadelphia, Keith Pompey, the Sixers beat writer for the Inquirer, reports that Daryl Morey is not willing to give up any of the players the Nets reportedly want as an add-on in a James Harden-for-Ben Simmons trade.
But at the same time, Frank Isola of the YES Network tweets that the Sixers have an offer on the table that includes one of three players as well as draft compensation.
Pompey also reports the two teams spoke Thursday morning and that co-owner Michael Rubin is also involved.
League sources have said Sixers and Brooklyn Nets are willing to swap the key pieces — the Sixers’ Ben Simmons for the Nets’ James Harden. However, the trade discussions are on the pieces that will be added to a potential deal.
The Sixers have been adamant about not packaging their young standouts Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle.
Beyond that, Pompey said that Seth Curry, the Philly sharpshooter, who many saw as a compromise piece in trade talks, is also off the table.
One league source said, as of Thursday morning, Curry was out of a potential deal. On Wednesday, a source said Curry and a first-round pick have been mentioned along with Thybulle as part of a potential deal for Harden.
However, Isola says the Sixers are indeed willing to give up Curry and that the addition of Thybulle could “get it done.”
Ben Simmons, Seth Curry a first and a second round pick is the Sixers offer, according to a source. The addition of Matisse Thybulle could get it done.— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) February 10, 2022
The Sixers have all their first rounders through 2028 with the exception of top-6 protected pick in 2025 that they owe the Thunder. They also have four seconds available through 2028, the last year teams can trade picks.
There have been other reports that the Sixers are offering two young non-rotation players — shooting guard Isaiah Joe and big Paul Reed — as pieces along with draft compensation.
Meanwhile, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that the Simmons camp is “optimistic” that he’ll be a Brooklyn Net by 3 p.m.
As a source close to Simmons who expressed this confidence put it, the only thing that might mess this trade up now is “ego” on the Nets side of the equation. On one side, you have a three-time All-Star in Simmons who could help salvage Brooklyn’s reeling season while rehabilitating his image that has been so tattered over the past year. On the other, you have a player in Harden who has suddenly become a (rapidly) depreciating asset.
Pompey says the Sixers hardline is based on their belief — strengthened by reports of Harden’s unhappiness in Brooklyn — that they can simply wait till the off-season to either sign Harden outright or work a trade with the Nets. Harden has a $47 million player option.
However, as Pompey has noted, getting the needed cap space to do either deal would require the 76ers to make a number of unpopular moves, including trading Tobias Harris, their second best player, in a salary dump. Brian Lewis wrote Thursday morning that “a source close to the Long Island-bred Harris told The Post that could just be posturing to put pressure on the Nets.”
Even though the Sixers are confident they can snag Harden this summer, there are no guarantees. This might be the best time to make a deal.
Sixers president of basketball operation Daryl Morey has affinity for Harden. Rubin maintains a close relationship with Harden and his close circle as well. Harden also has a tight relationship with Sixers CEO Tad Brown. Brown was the Houston Rockets CEO and Morey served as the Rockets general manager when Harden played for Houston.
Rubin’s involvement could also signal that Joe and/or Clara Wu Tsai are also involved. Rubin and the Tsais are close.
- What are the Sixers willing to give up? That’s the question holding up a James Harden trade - Keith Pompey - Philadelphia Inquirer
- Optimism from the Simmons camp that a Brooklyn deal gets done? - Sam Amick - The Athletic