Shams Charania lit up the NBA Twitterverse up when he filed a story about a blockbuster trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers possible. With the trade deadline coming in just a few days, it certainly makes sense that rumors begin to heat up for the midseason blockbuster trade.
The idea of the Ben Simmons and James Harden being swapped midseason, ending two simultaneous sagas, sounds just crazy enough that it might happen. The Sixers have not seen Simmons take to the court this year, and have been fining him for every game he’s missed, and look like the team with more to gain. The Nets, on the other hand, have their own concerns to deal with, as Harden has the power to exercise his termination clause on his contract at the end of this season.
Harden, who had been playing great until injuries started hitting him this year, would have a case for wanting to go to Philadelphia. He would be paired up with Joel Embiid, who’s becoming a regular MVP candidate, and has shown that he’s willing to play through injury to try to win. However, changing cities to play with Embiid instead of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (in away games at least), doesn’t seem like a great play. When he and Durant were healthy, they were at at the top of the Eastern Conference this season.
Simmons stands to gain the most from the situation, because he’s effectively banished himself from the Sixers and alienated himself from the team. Yes, he got criticized after their playoff failure last season, but he’s also done everything in his power to force his way out of Philadelphia. At this point, the man has few allies, and has been getting flak from all sides.
The most recent incident involving Simmons involved a feud with Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, where it seems that Simmons slid into Shaq’s DMs unhappy about criticism being levied at the Australian.
It’s hard to argue against Shaq’s logic, because Simmons’ behavior will certainly affect the next collective bargaining agreement. The fact that he didn’t improve on his weaknesses and chose to stop playing basketball, while holding a mega contract. To reward him for his behavior by giving him the trade he wants sets a bad precedent.
The trade rumors will not slow down until the deadline is over, but I think the trade certainly doesn’t make sense for the Nets. Simmons’ actions this year show that he could have a similar meltdown when things go wrong in Brooklyn, and then what are the Nets going to do? They’ve already got one headache with Irving, do they really want to add another potential locker room problem?