Within hours of the NBA trade deadline, the Brooklyn Nets traded James Harden and Paul Milsap to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first-round draft picks.
Ben Simmons defends James Harden last season, but the two players swapped teams in a huge trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. (Image: Getty)
In five seasons with the 76ers, Simmons averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game.
In 80 games with the Nets over the last two seasons, Harden averaged 23.4 points and 10.5 assists per game.
The 76ers (32-22) currently occupy the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re just 2.5 games out of first place in a tight race. The Nets (29-25) are in the middle of a nine-game losing streak and dropped to the #8 seed, but they’re only 5.5 games out of first place in a stacked, yet clustered Eastern Conference sprint for the #1 seed.
2022 First Round Draft Pick
2027 First Round Draft Pick
Within minutes of the Harden/Simmons tradel hitting the airwaves and social media, oddsmakers at DraftKings adjusted their line and the Philadelphia 76ers saw their 2022 NBA championship odds move from +1400 to +750. The Nets are still the consensus favorite to win the NBA championship, but that line should change shortly.
Harden Demanded Trade
Over the last couple of weeks, a Harden for Simmons swap fueled numerous trade rumors and speculation. It made sense for both teams to wait until the offseason to pull off a Harden for Simmons trade, but both the Nets and 76ers decided to work out a deal today.
This is not the first time that Harden demanded a trade. He pulled the same move last year with the Houston Rockets. He wanted out of H-Town and he was almost reunited with Rockets former general manager Daryl Morey, who had joined the Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets did not want to do Morey any favors, and they didn’t want Simmons, so they traded Harden to Brooklyn instead in a four-team mega-deal.
It didn’t take long before Harden knew he made a bad decision with the Nets. He wanted out Brooklyn badly after he never got into sync with their Big 3 that also included superstars Kevin Durant and a part-time Kyrie Irving.
Harden has a mystery hand injury during a road trip at the end of January, and missed a game. He returned for a bit before he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. It doesn’t take a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University to realize that Harden’s superficial injuries were part of his master plan to get the heck out of Brooklyn. The way the rest of the team played, it’s clearly obvious now that they knew what was about to go down.
Simmons Joins Sinking Ship in Brooklyn
Simmons demanded a trade within hours of the 76ers getting eliminated from the 2021 playoffs. The 76ers took their time with a trade and didn’t rush to move Simmons in the preseason to the Portland Trail Blazers, or even when the season began. Simmons bought a new house in the Los Angeles area, which fueled rumors he was headed to the LA Lakers. The Lakers pulled the trigger on a major trade with the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook instead of working out a deal with the 76ers for Simmons.
Simmons and the 76ers had a bad break up. It seems like everyone wanted him out of town after he burned bridges with the front office, teammates, coaching staff, and every fan in the City of Brotherly Love. He cited mental health reasons for nor rejoining the team in the first half of the season, but the 76ers quickly moved on without him.
An emo Simmons now joins a team in flux with a banged-up leading scorer in Durant and an unvaccinated and super-moody Irving, who can only play road games due to NYC’s health mandate.The Nets were in the middle of one of their worst losing streaks in recent memory. Durant went down with a strained knee in mid-January and he’s out for a couple more weeks. Harden missed the last three games with a sore hammy as Brooklyn’s skid continued.
Simmons gets a second chance and he doesn’t have to get exiled to somewhere like the Sacramento Kings. He gets to hoop it up in the Big Apple, and these days, the Nets are Gotham’s #1 team with the Knicks now playing second fiddle.