The 2022 NBA trade deadline is looming ever closer, with Thursday being the last day to make necessary midseason deals. The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are under the spotlight at that, as there’s a possibility that a massive trade is to happen between Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Brooklyn’s James Harden.
NitroBetting is ready to dish out some timely assists to our bettors all throughout the 2021-22 NBA season. This time, let’s take a look at the potential blockbuster trade of Ben Simmons and James Harden approaching the NBA trade deadline, as well as alternative options for the Sixers and Nets should any deal for the two superstars fail to fall through.
What to Know About the Potential Blockbuster Swap Ahead of the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline
Where There’s Smoke, There’s A Beard on Fire
On Tuesday, rumors about a Sixers-Nets deal that would send Ben Simmons to Brooklyn in exchange for James Harden started to intensify. The Sixers would want nothing more than to get something out of the frustrated Simmons before the Aussie star becomes a free agent this offseason, whereas the Nets are looking to bolster their own team right now amidst another strong push for an NBA title.
What lends to this trade becoming a reality is that the Nets are aware that Harden is adamant on not re-signing with the team when he himself hits free agency as well this offseason. Thus, the Simmons-Harden deal rumors started to sprout.
Sixers’ Trade Shot Missing the Net(s)
As of Wednesday, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported that a deal between Simmons and Harden is not in the works, with the Nets insistent that they’d want to keep Harden and their trio of superstars (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving being the other two) intact for this season’s postseason run.
However, we wouldn’t underestimate Philadelphia’s bargaining position just yet. Sixers GM Daryl Morey was the man responsible for bringing Harden over to Houston back in 2012. The Beard would have a huge impact for the Rockets franchise for the next nine seasons, even winning the league MVP award in 2018. With this in mind, a reunion between Harden and Morey might just be the catalyst towards making a deal materialize before the trade deadline.
Philly and Brooklyn’s Other Options
The Sixers could make another go at Harden during the next offseason and may have more leverage in the negotiations by then with the 10-time All-Star’s contract set to expire in 2023. But if the Nets aren’t budging whatsoever, Philly could take a crack at Washington’s Bradley Beal instead, who possesses great scoring ability similar to Harden.
As for Brooklyn, the team is already gearing up for Harden’s likely departure following the 2022-23 season. Rather than ship one of their best players in the middle of another promising campaign as we speak, the Nets are dangling the likes of Joe Harris and Nic Claxton as trade assets for their upgrades.
Harris’ stock in the trade market, however, has taken quite a dip considering the lingering issues regarding his ankle, which may require a second operation before the former Three-Point Contest champion is back to full speed. Claxton is also not a name that teams are going ga-ga over right now, but has the upside of becoming a restricted free agent this offseason by extending him a $2.23 million qualifying offer if he was to be signed by another team.