Ben Simmons ‘sudden, unexpected arrival at the Philadelphia 76ers’ latest exhibition game makes the world of tires hum on possible reconciliation. But even if Simmons’ holdout comes to an end and he hits the hardwood for Philly, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and others have hinted that the team is still exploring trading options.
To that end, Sixers President Daryl Morey could once again target an old friend and three-time NBA scoring champion.
On the October 12 episode First Take, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith pointedly stated that the Sixers’ top decision maker continued to pioneer potential James Harden deals.
“Now you might lose James Harden because Daryl Morey is lurking in Philadelphia. Don’t think for a second that Daryl Morey isn’t trying to get your hands on James Harden, ”explained Smith. “I’ll tell you what I know.”
The mentions of Harden, Morey, and the Sixers on First Take came from discussing the latest development in the Kyrie-Irving saga. The seven-time all-star and NBA champion of 2016 made headlines with his apparent refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and Smith believes Irving’s situation could affect the rest of the Brooklyn Nets stars.
According to New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, people are required to provide proof of at least one vaccination in order to enter indoor gyms i.e. Barclays Center – the home arena of the Nets. Though Irving could technically still play away games, Net’s GM Sean Marks announced Tuesday that the point guard would be held up until it fully complies with the local mandate.
“Kyrie made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to vote. Currently, the election will limit his ability to be a full-time member of the team and we will not allow any member of our team to participate with part-time availability, “Marks said in a statement via ESPN.
“It is imperative that we continue to build the chemistry as a team and remain true to our long-standing values of togetherness and sacrifice.”
Although reports have indicated that a deal between Irving and Simmons is unlikely to be in sight, Smith suggests that a team disharmony caused by Irving could enable the Nets and / or their other stars to consider some sort of change draw. And Morey has coveted Harden in the past.
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Whether or not Hardening is a legitimate option, Morey has definitely made efforts in the past to acquire his former Houston Rockets cohort. When Harden was looking for a change of scenery in January, the Sixers wanted to buy him, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Simmons and Matisse Thybulle were even informed of an expected trade by their agents, according to the report.
Pompey went on to say that Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was reluctant to deal with Morey, who had just left Houston himself. Additionally, the Rockets reportedly wanted Tyrese Maxey to be included in every Philly package. In the end, Harden was shipped to Brooklyn.