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Woj on an island: Nets, Sixers ‘not engaged in anything meaningful’

2021 NBA Finals - Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks

While his colleague Brian WIndhorst — and others — believe there’s a strong possibility that James Harden will be dealt to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons, Adrian Wojnarowski remains solidly in the camp that nothing is likely to happen between the Nets and Sixers.

In appearances on ESPN TV shows and radio, Woj has been steadfast in his belief that not only is a trade unlikely but the two teams are not even having “meaningful talks.” Like others who believe a trade is likely or possible, the lead ESPN NBA writer says, “anything’s possible,” but his main takeaway is that Sean Marks and the Nets want Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy for a title run.

On ESPN Radio this morning...

“They’re nowhere...

“Right now, there’s no negotiation going on between Philadelphia and Brooklyn...The idea that they are going back and forth that’s been surmised by some, I don’t believe that to be accurate.”

Then later in the day on ESPN’s Countdown on TV, he noted that the Nets “Big Three” still hasn’t had a chance to show what they can do, having only played 16 games — with a 13-3 record...

“They’ve been apart, they’ve been separated because of the injuries and I think right now that you don’t rule out the possibility that anything can happen leading up to the trade deadline, Brooklyn and Philadelphia are not engaged in anything meaningful, I’m told.”

Asked what about if Harden is unhappy, isn’t that issue for Brooklyn, Woj compared Harden’s current situation with the Nets to that of Kawhi Leonard’s with the Raptors in 2019.

“They’ll just treat James Harden — if his plans are to leave — treat it like the way Toronto treated Kawhi Leonard and say, ‘This is probably a one-shot deal. We want to win a championship. Our best chance is to do that’ and who knows what happens when Harden gets back with Kevin Durant, they start playing together again the way they had planned to from the beginning.”

That take of course is a far cry from what Windhorst said earlier in the day on ESPN’s Get Up,

“The sides are absolutely talking, absolutely negotiating. [Tuesday], the 76ers were out looking for other moves. Talking to other teams about other moves. Moving players. Opening roster spots. Leading those teams to believe they were getting ready to make the other deal.

“They have swapped offers. Really right now, it’s about haggling the ancillary parts.”

Like Woj, Windhorst poured out the caveats but in the opposite direction.

“Does this mean it will absolutely get done by tomorrow? I can’t say that. I’m not sitting in the room. It’s complicated. They are in the deal zone right now. I am leaning towards this probably happening. I don’t want to guarantee it or anything, but I think we’re heading in that direction.”

As Liberty Ballers, our SB Nation counterpart in Philadelphia wrote, “This is all very odd. Somebody is quite wrong.”

Woj is not entirely alone among the breathless. Keith Pompey, the 76ers beat writer for the Philadelphia inquirer, toned down his earlier report on the talks, saying they were “informal discussions.” Also, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, speaking with Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer would not get caught up in the speculation.

“I think [James Harden] has done enough to show that his wandering eye is real, but I don’t think this is any more than that. I think we’ve probably even talked about it too much in regards to the actual likelihood of a deal.”

How soon will we know? The closer to 3 p.m. ET tomorrow and as O’Connor told Fischer, Morey often tries to take trade conversations all the way down to the last minute.

Again, quoting Liberty Ballers, The truth will come out sooner or later, and we’ll keep you posted right here.