NetsDaily: In talking to people on the inside, I hear a lot of optimism that the Big 3 will be intact come October. And healthy. FWIW.
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I’d also keep an eye on Simmons, too. Several people inside the Hawks’ organization wanted Simmons at the trade deadline. The price might not be as high to land him now, especially if Brooklyn decides to move on before he plays one game for the Nets.
Teams were reluctant to make strong offers to Philadelphia for Ben Simmons before the deadline, and now there’s even more confusion about his condition. I spoke with a trusted source from a non-playoff team that was previously attracted to Simmons who told me they’re out on him. “We’re at the point we’d want to see him play first,” said the source. The Nets might feel the same before making a move. Sure, Simmons has major flaws. But he’s only 25, signed to a reasonable contract with three years remaining, and the last time we saw him he was one of the league’s best defenders.
Joel Embiid: “I just didn’t understand what was going on [with the Ben Simmons situation], honestly. I didn’t understand what happened and what led up to that whole situation. To this day, I don’t understand. Even when you look at it and I don’t have any problems with him and like I say, obviously we didn’t win the championship together, but in the regular season, we went dominant every single season. 50-win seasons, I always believed that we had a chance to win together. Like I always believed that even to this day. I believe that we had a chance to win and what we were able to accomplish obviously, winning matters the most, but I feel like we had a chance and that’s what I don’t get. I don’t understand what was going on, honestly. What caused him to want to leave. I understand his explanation, but a lot of things don’t make sense.”
Steve Nash on Ben Simmons’ chances of playing in regular season: ‘I have extremely high hopes’ he Brooklyn Nets still have no idea exactly when Ben Simmons will be able to make his season debut as he continues to deal with a back injury, but coach Steve Nash said after Tuesday’s shootaround that he has “extremely high hopes that we’ll see him in the regular season.” “He’s just doing his rehab, strengthening,” Nash said. “We’re still doing that side of things rather than court work right now.”
“The biggest thing we’ve tried to do is to have him be involved in everything,” Nash said. “The traveling is the one caveat where sometimes you’re weighing the cost benefit of him on airplanes and buses and different beds. When he’s with us we want him in every meeting, in every walkthrough, in every film session, whatever it may be so he’s around the group. We’d love for him to travel, be with the team all the time, but we have to weigh that scenario as well.”
Philadelphia 76ers veteran Danny Green is spilling tea about Ben Simmons ahead of the matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. While Simmons won’t be playing in the showdown, he will be on the bench, subjecting himself to a Philly crowd that’s sure to let him hear it, and then some. One claim Green passed along during an appearance on The Ryen Russillo Podcast was Simmons changing his phone number without anybody telling him on the team. The Sixers veteran said he texted Simmons “a bunch” but never heard back.
ProCity Hoops: Ben Simmons changed his phone number without telling anyone on the team. Danny Green personally reached out and sent “a bunch” of texts over a few weeks, but Ben didn’t respond. Nobody heard from him until he showed up at practice. – Danny Green via The Ryan Rusillo Show
Veteran Nets guard Goran Dragic knows the atmosphere in Philadelphia will likely be intense, but he said he doesn’t think Simmons will have an issue with it. “It’s probably not going to be pleasant,” Dragic said. “The same as in Toronto [for me], but it is what it is. We’re all professional athletes. At the end of the day it’s only boos, so you just go out there and perform and try to do your best. But as long as it’s nothing serious, no throwing things and just be verbal, I don’t care.”
Nash was quick with his answer Tuesday when asked if he thought it would be good for Simmons to be in that environment in Philadelphia. “It’s great,” Nash said. “He’s on our team, he needs to be with his teammates and get the whole Philly thing out of the way a little bit. Maybe it never goes away, but the first time it’s always nice to kind of deal with it and move on.”
Ben Simmons will not play in Thursday’s Nets-76ers game, but is expected to make the trip to Philadelphia and join the Nets on the bench inside Wells Fargo Center, sources said. It will mark the first time Simmons is in his old home arena for a game since June 20, 2021, when the 76ers lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Atlanta. Simmons requested a trade out of Philadelphia in the offseason, and in October the three-time All-Star informed the 76ers that the he was not mentally ready to perform for the organization.
There’s optimism that Simmons will be able to make his debut later this month, according to sources.
Danny Green: Now will we shake hands to start? Probably not. First, I’d be highly surprised if he even plays in that game. I don’t know where his health is mentally, physically, I know he had other issues, and we all know he does not like to play in Philly. If he does play in that game, I’d be highly surprised. But say that does happen, I see it as being a very hectic, playoff-like atmosphere and environment to where it may be very rough for him. I don’t have any ill will toward the guy, I don’t hate him I don’t dislike him, it’s just for me, it’s whatever. I waste more energy going out of my way to dislike him, or spend energy trying to go out of my way to hate him or do things to him. If he comes up and shows love, I’ll say what’s up, that’s the type of deal I’m on. I’m not the type of guy to not say what’s up to people that say what’s up to me.
Nets Daily: Marks on Ben Simmons “we’ve had our eyes on him for a long time, truth be told.”! “Don’t know if he’s a 1, a 4, or a 5, but I do know that he’s a hell of a basketball player.”
But now that the Simmons part of the situation is resolved by way of the trade that sent him from Philadelphia to Brooklyn, with his season-long decision not to play on track to end in the somewhat near future, it’s worth wondering what the ripple effect of it all might be. On the business side, you had owners who privately griped about how it was a disaster scenario to have a star choose to be sidelined with three more seasons left on his deal.
But Simmons blew away all modern precedent last summer, demanding a trade from Philadelphia with four full seasons left on his contract. “This one just went over the line,” said another Eastern Conference executive.
Worse, in the view of some executives, is that Simmons had signed the so-called rookie supermax extension—a mechanism specifically created by the league to keep young stars with their teams. Indeed, nearly every wrinkle the league has adopted in its labor deals over the last decade has either backfired or been rendered moot by empowered (and increasingly wealthy) players dictating their own career paths, no matter what the contract says.
Ian Begley: Ben Simmons says he spoke to several members of Sixers organization, including Elton Brand and Tobias Harris, toward end of his PHI tenure. When asked about it, Simmons said he hadn’t spoken to Joel Embiid.
Ramona Shelburne: Ben (Simmons) was obviously really excited for this long situation to be over. It’s gonna take him some time to get back on the court. But he did end up having one long conversation with Doc Rivers afterwards. And I think his message the way it’s been described to me was, you know, “I’m happy this is over.” It was never personal with Ben and Doc, that he always said, you know, I respect the way you were so honest with me about everything
Alex Schiffer: Steve Nash doesn’t rule out Ben Simmons working with Kyle Korver at some point, but isn’t worried about his shooting, or lack thereof. Said Simmons helps the Nets in so many areas they struggle in and has been an All Star despite the shot problems.
Beyond the rampant skepticism about the severity of his latest hamstring injury, on top of the ever-present questions about his substandard conditioning and how much it contributed to his unending hamstring troubles as a Net, Harden has been a brooding presence for months. League sources say there were times before Durant’s injury that the two stars, for reasons unclear, were hardly communicating — followed by the chaos of the past few Durant-less weeks when Harden stopped connecting with anyone to passive-aggressively convey he no longer wanted to be there.
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid says it’s disappointing that all the winning he and Simmons were able to do became secondary. “It’s unfortunate that i guess having his own team and being a star was more important”
Rich Hoffman: Joel Embiid: “I mean, he’s James Harden.” “Sucks to lose some of my teammates. Seth did such a great job for us and Drum was as good as any backups we’ve had in Philly since I’ve been here. Sucks to lose them but it’s James Harden, one of the best players in the league, MVP.” pic.twitter.com/RgXDAylQ6f
Gina Mizell: Joel Embiid on the end of the Simmons saga: “I honestly don’t care, honestly. Like I always said, it’s unfortunate how everything happened. … Obviously, we didn’t get it done as far as winning in the playoffs. …
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid on the resolution to the Simmons saga: “I’m happy that I’m not going to be answering any more questions on that subject” Says he wishes everybody that has moved on the best
Tom Moore: #Sixers center Joel Embiid: ‘It’s exciting’ to have James Harden as a teammate: pic.twitter.com/3x0PHElX2d
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.”
Both men spoke with Brand and ownership. Brand, according to multiple league sources, told D’Antoni that Joel Embiid was in his corner; Embiid and D’Antoni had clicked during D’Antoni’s stint as a Sixers assistant in 2016. D’Antoni and Brand discussed contract terms. D’Antoni believed ownership was on his side and even told some former Rockets staffers to begin house hunting in Philadelphia. At the same time, Lue, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking, got the impression that he was Brand’s top choice. The problem, according to that source, was Lue didn’t believe the decision was Brand’s to make.
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.”
The Brooklyn Nets have acquired guard/forward Ben Simmons, guard Seth Curry, center Andre Drummond and two future first round draft picks from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard James Harden and forward Paul Millsap. In a related transaction, the Nets have requested waivers on forward DeAndre’ Bembry.
Ben Golliver: Nets’ Kevin Durant on integrating Ben Simmons, Seth Curry & new pieces after James Harden trade on TNT: “I feel like we’ve got versatile players. We’ll have to figure it out and figure out what works for us. I’m just happy we’ve got guys who want to be a part of this.”
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.”
Jeff Goodman: Here’s one thing that will help Ben Simmons acclimate in Brooklyn: His long-time relationship with fellow Aussie Patty Mills. Mills has been a mentor of sorts to Simmons over the years.
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.)
David Hardisty: According to @Ramona Shelburne, “I had an Eastern Conference team say to me, ‘I hope this (Brooklyn-Philly) trade does not happen because both of these teams are going to be better than us now.'”
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Brooklyn Nets are trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, sources tell ESPN.
Chris Haynes: Brooklyn Nets are trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons and Seth Curry, league sources tell @YahooSports
Ian Begley: Philadelphia had offered Nets a package that included Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, a first round pick and second round pick during talks around James Harden, per source. The Athletic reports a deal has been finalized to send Harden to PHI.
Shams Charania: BREAKING: The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are finalizing trade sending James Harden for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and draft picks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
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.
Sources say Harden wants to be traded to the Sixers, where he would reunite with Morey and form an elite All-Star pairing with Joel Embiid.
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.
Multiple league sources have said that Thybulle’s name has been mentioned as part of a potential deal for James Harden ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline. One source said Seth Curry and a first-round pick have been mentioned along with Thybulle. A person close the Sixers disputed the package centered around Simmons for Harden.
One league source said the Sixers are unwilling to part ways with their young stars, Thybulle and second-year point guard Tyrese Maxey.
Salman Ali: Woj on a potential Harden/Simmons deal: “Right now there’s no negotiation going on between Philadelphia and Brooklyn… The idea that they’re going back and forth that’s been surmised by some, I don’t think there the accurate thing.”
Jordan Schultz: League sources: #Nets have asked #Sixers for both Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey to be included in a potential James Harden – Ben Simmons trade. Brooklyn also has tangible interest in sharpshooting guard Seth Curry, a career 44 percent 3-point shooter.
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”.
If nothing changes before Thursday’s trade deadline, and if the Nets continue to keep the Sixers at bay in Harden-Ben Simmons trade talks that sources say have gone nowhere between the two teams, then those would be two extremes among the possible outcomes.
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.
Numerous figures affiliated with Simmons’ representation insist he’ll never dress for the franchise again, but there are people around Simmons who have recently pushed for the All-Star to retake the floor if he’s not dealt, sources said.
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…”
Kevin O’Connor: My understanding is that, from Philadelphia’s standpoint, there’s no chance they give up Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle is unlikely in that deal, it would be more like an older player like a Danny Green.
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.
But beyond availability, sources say there have been growing concerns over Harden’s playing style — one of dominant ball-handling and his own pace from his MVP and All-NBA days in Houston — that contrasts with the free-flowing, organic approach from his two co-stars.
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.
The expected openness to engage does not mean a deal will come to fruition — the Nets would surely want a significant haul from the 76ers. But it has opened the door to the possibility of a major blockbuster to occur on deadline week, which means Morey and the 76ers are primed to have their shot at Harden in-season, a potential deal that once seemed only possible in the summertime.
The 76ers want to find a star player able to elevate their championship chances this season, and rival teams believe the team will wait on moving Simmons until they find that caliber of player. There’s no question: Harden suffices the threshold. And his history with Morey fuels the 76ers with confidence that the pairing of Harden and MVP favorite Joel Embiid has tremendous title odds.
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.”
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June 28, 2022 | 4:49 pm EDT Update
Tim MacMahon: At this point, it’s widely anticipated that Jalen Brunson will go to the Knicks on a four-year deal in excess of $100M. It remains to be seen how New York will clear the rest of the necessary cap space and whether the Mavs can work a sign-and-trade to recoup assets.
Chris Mannix: Part of the Knicks pitch to Jalen Brunson, I’m told, is the opportunity to be a full time point guard. In Dallas, Brunson can play with Luka. But Luka is the de facto point guard. In New York, Brunson would run the show.
Ben Anderson: At 34, Will Hardy joins Lawrence Frank, George Karl, and Jeff Van Gundy as the third-youngest full-time head coaches in NBA history. Only Minnesota Timberwolves coaches Ryan Saunders and Sidney Lowe (both 33) were younger.
The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame announced Thursday the latest group of inductees. Antonio Gates, Chris Webber, Jennie Ritter, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, John Beilein, Mickey Redmond and Kathy Beauregard are the eight new faces for the class of 2022.
June 28, 2022 | 4:37 pm EDT Update
Wrote Friday that the Knicks had amassed “major momentum” in their pursuit of Jalen Brunson after draft night. There is a growing resignation in Dallas, sources say, that the Knicks are indeed Brunson’s top choice and his inevitable destination. More: https://marcstein.substack.com/p/brunson-sweepstakes-just-got-real