NBA Rumor: Ben Simmons Trade

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Teams out on Ben Simmons as potential trade target

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 on Ben Simmons situation: To this day, I don't understand what happened

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'

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.”

Ben Simmons changed his phone number without telling anyone on the 76ers, avoided texts and calls

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.

Goran Dragic on Ben Simmons returning to Philadelphia: 'It's probably not going to be pleasant'

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.”

Ben Simmons to travel with team to Philly but won't play

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.

Danny Green: I'd be very surprised if Ben Simmons plays against Philadelphia on March 10

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.

Ben Simmons had a long conversation with Doc Rivers after trade to Brooklyn

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

Sixers-Nets trade aftermath: Kevin Durant, James Harden were hardly communicating

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

Nets, Sixers making progress on Ben Simmons deal?

“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”.

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.

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.

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…”

Ben Simmons confidant believes Daryl Morey hell-bent on landing James Harden

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.

76ers expecting Ben Simmons to be enough to close a deal for James Harden

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.

Hawks engaging Sixers on Ben Simmons trade in exchange for John Collins, more

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.

Sixers to pursue James Harden, Nets open to the idea

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.

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.

Shaquile O'Neal: 'Ben Simmons DM'd me, he said some things and I said some things back'

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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