Both men spoke with Brand and ownership. Brand, accordi…

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Meanwhile, the trade deadline was inching closer. Morey made it known that he’d be interested in a Harden-for-Simmons swap. In public, the Nets claimed they weren’t entertaining any deals for Harden, but in private, according to sources, the two sides started negotiating around the beginning of February. The Nets knew that Harden wanted to leave in the offseason, preferably for the Sixers, and that the Sixers wanted him. They just didn’t want the news becoming public. "I don’t need this stuff affecting our locker room," Nets general manager Sean Marks told an associate this week.
Brand told Harris he didn’t think the Sixers needed to bring in someone else, that he was confident in himself and his group. But, he added, after more than 20 championship-less NBA seasons, both as a player and as an executive, what he wanted most was to win a title, and also, he’d actually gotten to know Morey in the bubble — they had lunch one day and sat next to each other during a Sixers-Rockets game — and Brand believed Morey could help both him and the organization. "If you can get that type of guy," Brand told Harris, "you gotta do it."
Morey and Rivers had also been colleagues in Boston for about 18 months, and Rivers’ son, Austin, had spent two seasons playing for Morey’s Rockets, an arrangement that came together after Doc sold Morey on Austin’s ability. Morey wanted Rivers to be the Rockets’ next coach and believed Rivers was interested in the job. Rivers was scheduled to meet with the Sixers on Friday in Philadelphia and then travel to Houston on Sunday to talk with the Rockets.
“Morey went out of his way to connect with Embiid early on," a source close to Embiid said. The two FaceTimed the day of Morey’s introductory news conference. They played tennis together. Embiid, for his part, was eager to accept the role Morey was offering, even asking Morey to lunch. "[Embiid] has a real interest in the salary cap and team-building strategies," the source close to Embiid said. "And he really enjoyed talking to Daryl about all of that stuff."
Kristian Winfield: Patty Mills says he's been speaking to Ben Simmons regularly and that Ben has been staying in shape and getting game-ready: "He's in a really good place right now. ... You get a really hungry person who's looking forward to playing basketball again."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Ben Simmons has already talked to Kevin Durant and Sean Marks, @Klutch Sports' Rich Paul tells ESPN. Simmons is eager to join Nets and ramp up for a return to play this season, Paul says. "We've got to work to do to get him back to play, but it's a great step in right direction."
Ramona Shelburne: Ben Simmons will continue to work with his therapist to get mentally ready to play in Brooklyn. “It’s a work in progress,” according to one source close to him. But he’s thrilled with the change of scenery and has already spoken to Kevin Durant.
Jonathan Feigen: Heard last night that five or six teams needed to wait for the Simmons-Harden deal to make their own deals. Could be many coming in now, (Don't think Boston-San Antonio was dependent on Brooklyn-Philly.)
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Nets will get the Sixers' 2022 first-round pick unprotected with a right to defer until 2023 and a 2027 first-round pick protected 1-to-8, sources tell ESPN. The 2027 pick would roll over to 2028 protected 1-to-8 again. The pick turns into two seconds and $2M in 2029.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers on canceling today's practice: "It's just so much stuff that's going on, so many rumors. I just thought the human thing to do instead of the coaching thing was just be very straightforward with our guys and tell them I get it.
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.
“There was a hangup trying to figure out what happened with Simmons before other deals happened. When Harden came on the board, to whatever extent he did, I think a lot of teams that were interested went other directions because clearly, the Sixers were going to focus on that,” one source whose team had explored a Simmons trade said this week.
Although Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden wants a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, he has resisted making that formal request out of fear of the public backlash that would come with asking out of a second franchise in consecutive seasons, sources told ESPN.
Harden is hopeful that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey secures a trade for him prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline, but Morey and Nets general manager Sean Marks have yet to become engaged in serious dialogue on a deal, sources said. There's still an expectation that the sides will communicate Thursday and the possibility of a deal remains, but both teams are left measuring the risk-reward of a Harden deal, sources said.
A source said as of Wednesday afternoon, a deal isn’t as close to being finalized as people think. The Nets and Sixers engaged in informal trade discussions Tuesday and, according to sources, bickered over pieces to add to a potential deal.
Sources have said it’s Harden or bust for the Sixers. At the root of that stance is Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s affinity for Harden from their time together with the Houston Rockets.
One league source said the Sixers are unwilling to part ways with their young stars, Thybulle and second-year point guard Tyrese Maxey.
Appearing on ESPN's Get Up, Brian Windhorst said things are "trending" in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers working out a deal: "The teams are absolutely engaged in trade discussions. I know that there’s people saying things on the record, trying to act like that’s not happening, but it is absolutely happening. There is definite motivation from both sides to make this fall into place. The Sixers were out there yesterday having trade negotiations with other teams looking to clear roster spots, looking to move other players on their roster—including Tobias Harris—in what looks like ancillary moves to support a James Harden arrival."
Get Up: .@WindhorstESPN says Ben Simmons-James Harden trade discussions are absolutely happening. "The teams are absolutely engaged in trade discussions. ... As far as I can tell, we're in the deal zone between Harden and Simmons."
Keith Smith: It sounds like rival teams think a deal between Brooklyn and Philadelphia may be getting close. One team told me "They've kind of put other talks on hold. If that deal finally happens, then the floodgates will open around the league for a lot more to happen."
“The sides are definitely communicating and definitely making progress”, tells Windhorst, who also explained the two main factors behind the delay of a final agreement. As he mentions, Brooklyn is concerned about which other player will be included in the deal, hoping to get Seth Curry. The situation is more complex on the Philadelphia side, which has to consider the fact that James Harden will require a veteran contract extension this summer.
“From the Philadephia side, you’re not just trading for James Harden this year. You’re trading for James Harden who wants at age 33 a $220M extension this summer. And that’s not an easy signoff for Philadelphia ownership”, tells Windhorst. However, as he further reports, Philadelphia has been making some progress in the last day or so. “Philadelphia has been out there looking at ancillary moves. Looking to clear salary cap, looking to clear roster space. There is some indication that something will happen”.
But a source said Morey and Marks did have a preliminary discussion that included Harden and Simmons a month ago at the urging of others. Those discussions are typically about what teams would want in a trade. Multiple sources said the Sixers also asked if Brooklyn was interested in acquiring Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe to help with a deal as a third team.
“People are saying one thing to one person and saying something completely different to someone else,” the source said. “I get the impression that that’s epitome of the entire situation on all fronts. “I get the impression that they want Ben and they know the Harden thing is coming to an end and it’s not working anyway. There’s a sense that Simmons could be the lesser of two evils.”
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on Jan. 20 that it’s “less likely than likely” that Simmons is moved prior to the deadline. A league source said Sunday that Simmons wouldn’t be moved at least until June’s NBA draft. And Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said Sunday the team wasn’t going to trade Harden.
The Inquirer confirmed a report that Brooklyn may be open to sending him to the Sixers for a package that includes Simmons. But a source said Sunday that isn’t something that just came about. The source added that Nets general manager Sean Marks and the Sixers haven’t had thorough discussions about a Simmons-for-Harden deal. However, the source noted both sides are going through back channels and third parties to get information.
Morey and Marks did have a preliminary discussion that included Harden and Simmons a month ago at the urging of others. Those discussions are typically about what teams would want in a trade. Multiple sources said the Sixers also asked if Brooklyn was interested in acquiring Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe to help with a deal as a third team. “The conversation was non-productive,” one of sources said. “It didn’t have any impact whatsoever.” However, the source said the Nets haven’t fully closed the door on trading Harden, regardless of what’s being said publicly.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sixers will be engaged in conversations on Simmons this week. But they're no closer to a trade for him. And they want to wait out whether it's a James Harden, whether it's other star players who may become available after the season that aren't now. Philly has shown no indication that they're going to sell short on Ben Simmons and do a deal that they don't really love and they have a willingness to take this into the offseason.
When Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey reached out to Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks on January 11, they started with the usual pleasantries of basketball executives still a month away from Thursday's NBA trade deadline. Who do you like on our roster? Here's who I like on yours. Eventually, Morey spoke up on the true intention of his call. "What about James?" "James who?" Marks responded. The Nets do have two James -- Johnson and Harden. "James Harden." "No," Marks said flatly.
That exchange four weeks ago represents the single, direct communication between Morey and Marks this season, sources told ESPN. However brief the conversation, messages were delivered in each direction: The Sixers planned a pursuit of Harden, and the Nets had no intention of surrender.
But a source said Morey and Marks did have a standard preliminary discussion earlier in the season. Those discussions are typically what teams would want in a trade. Multiple sources did say the Sixers asked if Brooklyn was interested in acquiring Paul Reed and Isaiah Joe to help with a deal.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers was asked if he had a discussion with Tyrese Maxey in light of a report that Maxey could be an option to be packaged with Ben Simmons in a trade to the #Nets: "First of all, the one thing that I won’t do is all of the discussion is from a writer. Why would I … like, you know what I mean? Some of this stuff is crazy. I mean, there’s articles from, you know, I’ll get a call from one of our coaches telling me about an article from a guy that works for the agency of one of the agents. Why would we ever comment on that stuff? It’s so silly. So those are the things I stay away from and I don’t get involved in..."
Sources close to Simmons have insisted for quite some time now that Morey was hell-bent on finding a way to bring Harden to Philly. He nearly did it on Jan. 13, 2021, when Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta asked Harden to choose his destination — Brooklyn or Philly — and was relieved when he chose the Nets. The Rockets, who sources say made it clear to Harden that they would welcome him back in Houston if that was ever in the cards, were operating like a player-friendly operation in their handling of the deal but had all sorts of incentives to push the deal in Brooklyn’s direction.
If Harden is in danger of actively sabotaging what the Nets want to build, as Charania reports here, the Sixers don't believe they should have to give up more than a multi-time All-Star in Simmons to get a deal done before February 10th. "Brooklyn would love to get a 25-year old, multi-time All-Star who is under contract for multiple years in exchange for a guy who is unhappy and not under contract long term," one source said.
It is still more likely, sources familiar with the situation say, that the Sixers complete a deal for Harden or a player of Harden's caliber in the summer, rather than in the next six days. But the Sixers are, as they have been for months now, prepared to move quickly if they feel the right opportunity is on the table. As we reported earlier Friday, no player on the roster (save for Joel Embiid) is untouchable in trade talks, depending on the player(s) on offer. And the team has insisted for a while now that this is not a Harden-or-bust push, a claim they feel has been made for dubious reasons elsewhere.
If it's not clear at this point, posturing is going to hit record highs over the next week. Take this as you will — as of Friday evening, team sources told PhillyVoice there has been no significant conversation between the Nets and Sixers regarding Harden, with Philadelphia viewing this latest report as a signal that they're merely open for business
Across the league, the Simmons market has become more focused as the deadline nears. The Atlanta Hawks have been most engaged with the 76ers in recent weeks, according to sources. The sides have discussed a framework around John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and draft compensation, those sources have said. The Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, have made clear that they have moved on from the Simmons sweepstakes after being one of the top suitors in the past few months.
With the NBA trade deadline just days away on Feb. 10, the 76ers are expected to pursue Harden in the coming days and the Nets are believed to be open to discussing a deal, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic. There’s expectation that both the 76ers and Nets will engage in dialogue on a deal around Simmons for Harden this week, multiple sources say, with Philadelphia holding a chest of role players in Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle that could sweeten a potential package.
The Philadelphia 76ers and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey had been plotting to wait for the offseason to chase James Harden as a free agent and save Ben Simmons for a potential deal, but he may not have to wait that long after all.
Still, there’s no urgency for Nets officials, who have had the steadfast belief that the current core, as is, has the means necessary for a championship. However, it’s believed that an opening exists should an offer elevate the team and make the roster more well-rounded as the franchise pursues a championship.
Nets coach Steve Nash has met with his team’s stars over finding the balance and most beneficial styles, and although there have been bright spots, too often the team has reverted to a more dry offense at the end of games, especially against the league’s elite teams. In addition, the Nets’ game plans tend to shift depending on when Harden is on and off the floor, meaning a different play style at certain points. This has also been a point of contention from the coaching staff and players, sources said.
In the rant on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Shaq wouldn’t call Simmons by name, describing him as “soft” and a “crybaby” who can’t take criticism. It turned out that Simmons took notice of the segment because he reached out to Shaq. In the latest edition of the The Big Podcast with Shaq, O’Neal revealed that an angry Ben Simmons sent him a few direct messages to argue about what he said on Inside the NBA. Shaq wouldn’t disclose exactly what Simmons wrote but described him as “mad.”
There continues to indication that Atlanta is interested in Ben Simmons, though the asking price may be beyond its means. “I’m not sure if they’d move (Bogdan) Bogdanovic, but that would be a mistake,” said one league source. “I think him not being healthy all year is a big reason behind their problems. He’s one of those guys whose game can really complement (Trey) Young and (John) Collins.”
According to sources close to Simmons, he's upset that Embiid seemed to blame him for last season's playoff loss, when Simmons did not blame Embiid for Embiid's poor showing in the playoffs against the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He's frustrated that Rivers didn't come to see him while he was training in Los Angeles last summer. Simmons doesn't dispute that he didn't reply when Rivers texted and called him several times over the summer asking to see him. But in hindsight, Simmons feels Rivers and the Sixers could've done more, like show up at a well-known gym in the San Fernando Valley where he was training.
He's also skeptical, sources close to him say, of Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey's willingness to trade him because of his previous pursuit of Harden -- who can become a free agent this summer. Simmons would be the best player the Sixers would send in any theoretical trade. And he's upset that the organization is fining him so heavily after he raised mental health as an issue upon his return. Rich Paul, Simmons' agent, had spent weeks in the fall trying to convince the three-time All-Star to fly back to Philadelphia as a show of good faith. Simmons did not want to go under any circumstances.
Simmons has lost over $19 million in fines since the season began (each missed game costs him $360,000). He hasn't cleared a paycheck since the $8.25 million (25% of his $33 million salary) that was due to him Oct. 1. Every two weeks the team sends a notice with an explanation of all the fines he has accumulated for failing to render services, instead of a $1.375 million paycheck. By the end of the season, if he does not play for the Sixers or any other team, Simmons could lose another $12 million. It is a staggering amount of money. Everyone involved assumes this issue will eventually be settled in arbitration. But those close to Simmons, who has earned upward of $60 million over his career, insist his decision to demand a trade and then not to play until he is traded has never been financially motivated. He wants a fresh start, away from a franchise he doesn't feel comfortable playing for anymore.
"We don't give a f--- about the money," one source close to Simmons says. "That's not what this is. It's hard for people to understand. But if you believe in what you're doing and that this is not the right situation for you, and you're trying to get to a better place, the money doesn't matter. Obviously it's a financial hit. But you adjust." Said another source close to Simmons, "It's easy to tell when someone is hurt when they have a cast on their arm. But this is mental health. You can't always see it. But ask yourself, how many people would lose a dollar over this? That should tell you everything."
Both sides have publicly and privately admitted they've made mistakes along the way. Both have vowed to meet again if a trade does not materialize by the Feb. 10 deadline, according to sources. But for now, Simmons and the Sixers are stuck together, and yet are further apart than ever.
"He'd get booed for a few games, but if he played well, everyone would get over it," one team source says. "The fans booed Joel and Tobias [Harris] too, and they both got through it." Others doubt Simmons would ever be able to face the home crowd. "No," says another team source. "It's too far gone with both the fans and how he feels about the organization."
Marc Stein: Sacramento was doing some due diligence on Tobias when it was out there that there could be a deal that involved both Ben and Tobias and I know not this week but earlier this month that I did hear from some teams that suggested that they saw Sacramento as the only team that could realistically get Daryl to move off of his patience stance on Ben because there were indications that the Kings would be willing to take Tobias on if it meant getting Ben now. The Kings have sent so many mixed messages lately.
The Kings' roster represented one of the Sixers' best options for a Simmons deal ahead of the trade deadline. Losing them in the marketplace somewhat diminishes the chances of an in-season trade, although the Sixers still believe there are potential avenues to a deal, sources said.
The Athletic NBA Show: In this week's 'Hoops Adjacent' @HowardBeck explains where the info or disinfo may be coming from when it comes to James Harden wanting out of Brooklyn. @davidaldridgedc @ThompsonScribe Listen Apple: Spotify:
According to sources, Harden and his camp have maintained a close relationship with Morey. In addition, Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin is also tight with Harden and his friends. Harden’s close friend and rapper Lil Baby was even on hand when Rubin, Meek Mill and the Sixers hosted 25 youths from the Philadelphia area before their Dec. 15 game against the Miami Heat. Together, the group provided a Wells Fargo Center experience through the REFORM Alliance for young people who have been adversely affected by criminal justice.
Sacramento and Atlanta have been among the most engaged recently in talks on Simmons, sources said, but team officials with those organizations doubt the 76ers will lower the price threshold for Simmons before Feb. 10. Between now and Feb. 10, the 76ers will continue taking calls and examining potential framework of offers presented to them. The Charlotte Hornets have been among new teams placing a Simmons inquiry to the 76ers, but there’s been nothing substantive, sources said. In return for Simmons, the 76ers have wanted a top-level All-Star or a package featuring a bevy of first-round draft picks for Simmons.
Marc Stein on Ben Simmons: When I talk to executives with other teams, it just comes up so much so often, that these rival executives think that Daryl’s real goal here is to wait till the offseason and try to do a sign and trade for James Harden. Now, that would be super complicated, because it would hard cap the Sixers and they would definitely have to shed much more salary. Much more salary than just Ben here. So the mathematics of a Harden sign and trade, even if Harden is like ‘I want to go to Philly’, even if that happened, that would be difficult.
There has been a lot of talks recently about Simmons and the Kings, specifically when it comes to De’Aaron Fox, but there is no guarantee that a deal gets done despite Morey’s connection with Kings GM Monte McNair. Morey on that situation: I can tell you that for sure, there are deals with the Sacramento Kings that I think would work. Will those deals ever happen? I have no idea. Are there just trade deals with the Kings? Probably not. Is it multiple teams? Probably, but for sure there are deals that are possible that would go over our line.
Daryl Morey: The one thing we’re in agreement on is we would like a win-win trade. A trade that helps the 76ers, it’s most likely going to help Ben in his mind and what his goals are and we’d like to accomplish that by by the February 10 deadline. If we don’t, then I think this foundation that we’ve established, we’ll see if that can help us work through things if there isn’t a trade. Trades are hard to do. It takes two, right? That’s again why I feel the fans frustration like just get a deal done.
Daryl Morey: I do think with how great Joel is, our line has moved down a little bit because Joel has lifted us into contention by his sheer will of greatness this year, that does push the number of deals that we would do more likely, if that makes any sense. It’s more likely than we can find ones that get us into that top few contention because of our great Joel is playing. So we are sitting right now on a better chance of a trade that actually helps Joel and the Sixers and Tobias and our whole team. There’s a better chance that happens because of how great Joel has been.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade
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August 8, 2022 | 8:04 pm EDT Update
The NBA informed teams Monday that players still need to have either received a primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine or been given a medical clearance from getting one in order to play games in Canada, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN. The memo also states that, should players be ineligible to play in games in Canada, teams must list them as, “Out – Health and Safety Protocols,” and that they will lose their pay for any games missed due to not being vaccinated.
This season, the Raptors will play at least 44 games in Canada: preseason games in Edmonton against the Utah Jazz; Montreal against the Boston Celtics; and Toronto against the Chicago Bulls; plus their typical 41 regular-season home games at Scotiabank Arena and any additional playoff games. The same rules apply both to going to Canada to play in a game, as well as for entering the United States. Anyone playing for the Raptors, therefore, would have to be vaccinated in order to play in any game this season. Last season, the Raptors were fully vaccinated.
A few of Fox’s peers also attended the wedding including Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum. Former Kentucky Wildcats Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel, who was also Fox’s teammate in Sacramento, attended the wedding. Adebayo and Gabriel were two of the groomsmen at the ceremony.