76ers all in for James Harden?

·12 min read

James Harden or bust? That’s the feeling around the NBA as the 76ers search for ways to end the Ben Simmons saga. The Sixers are looking to trade Simmons, who has yet to play this season after requesting to be moved in August. “At the end of the day, it’s Harden all the way,” said a league source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They want Harden whether they get him now. Whether they get him on a forced sign-and-trade this summer.”
Source: Keith Pompey @ The Philadelphia Inquirer

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck
Alongside this morning’s Sixers-related Harden reporting, there was a refresh on teams who have discussed (recently or earlier in the season) the possibility of getting Simmons.
So which rumored suitors for Ben Simmons make most sense for deadline deal?
phillyvoice.com/nba-trade-dead…3:20 PM

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers
James Harden or bust? Sources indicate the Sixers are all in even if it means prolonging Ben Simmons saga inquirer.com/sixers/sixers-… via @phillyinquirer – 3:20 PM

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
RJ Barrett is one of six players averaging more than 22 points, more than six rebounds and more two made three-pointers per game in 2022.
The other five are James Harden, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton and LeBron James – 2:09 PM

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk
Report: James Harden chose Nets over 76ers with Rockets trade nba.nbcsports.com/2022/01/24/rep…12:39 PM

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck
James Harden to the Sixers rumors simply won’t die. What is the team thinking, why might Harden decide to make his way here, and how do you grapple with the long-term Harden bet now vs. a year ago: phillyvoice.com/nba-trade-rumo…11:27 AM

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons
The Ben Simmons reports are becoming more and more ludicrous. Oh Brooklyn is gonna be leaping at the chance to trade Harden for him this summer? Give me a break. You float pie-in-the-sky stuff when you have no leverage. Philly has no leverage. He’s legit damaged as a trade asset. – 11:02 AM

Matt Williams @StatsWilliams
Joel Embiid is averaging 1.34 points per minute in his last 3 games (128 points in 95:15).
That is tied for the best over a 3-game span in the last 25 seasons (min. 25 minutes).
Harden in Jan. 2019
Giannis in Dec. 2019
Kobe in Jan. 2006 (involved 81-point game) – 10:33 AM

Ben Simmons trade rumors: 76ers prefer to wait on James Harden or other star in offseason, per report
cbssports.com/nba/news/ben-s…10:20 AM

Sam Amick @sam_amick
Story on the Ben Simmons latest with @Shams Charania, at @TheAthletic
Based on the current market, the Sixers have their eyes on landing a superstar this summer – preferably James Harden.
theathletic.com/3088096/2022/0…9:48 AM

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
The missing link in all of the James Harden-to-Philly noise is this: why would Harden want to leave Brooklyn?
For me to really start believing this has traction, there needs to be credible reporting on why Harden would want to leave the Nets and the extra money they can pay him. – 9:44 AM

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
76ers prefer to wait to pursue James Harden or another superstar in offseason and want to save Ben Simmons for that potential deal over current market, per sources with knowledge and rival teams.
Details and Simmons latest with @Sam Amick at @TheAthletic: theathletic.com/3088096/2022/0…9:35 AM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden frustrated with referees in #Nets‘ loss to #Timberwolves nypost.com/2022/01/23/net… via @nypostsports1:34 AM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
James Harden doesn’t feel there has been a lot of “consistency” in the way in which he’s been officiated this season. espn.com/nba/story/_/id…1:01 AM

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed
James Harden didn’t take a shot in the fourth quarter as the Nets watched a late-game rally reverse course in Minnesota.
Harden owned up to being passive against the Wolves, but the Nets need him to be better: “I put that on me.”
nydailynews.com/sports/basketb…12:22 AM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Kyrie Irving: “We just want to start the game with a consistent whistle.” Says Harden gets fouled “and deserves that respect” of the appropriate call. #Nets11:09 PM

Dave Early @DavidEarly
Reporter: “Do you feel like you’re getting the benefit of the whistle in the same way [you have in the past]?”
James Harden “No.”
Reporter: “Why do you think that is?”
James Harden: “That’s a good question. I mean, I dunno. I don’t even want to talk about it.” pic.twitter.com/O8og8HG1Pe10:54 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden: “There’s ones where there’s like, clearly, stiff arms and trips and things like that.” Adds he’s going to keep driving and he has a right to go to the basket. #Nets10:51 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Harden does not believe he is getting the benefit of the whistle the same way he did over the years. Why is that?
“It’s a good question. I don’t know.” – 10:50 PM

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed
James Harden conceded he was being passive against the Timberwolves defense and in the fourth quarter, where he didn’t take a shot. Said “that was on me.” Owned up to it. – 10:48 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden: “It’s frustrating.” Asked why he’s not getting calls, says he has no idea. #Nets10:47 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden and Steve Nash were both asked if the #Nets star was getting the benefit of the calls he always had. Both said “No.” – 10:46 PM

Dave Early @DavidEarly
“Yeah, I think it’s been well documented that he’s one of the poster childs.”
-Steve Nash was asked if he thinks James Harden is the poster-child for new rule changes. Nash said he was back in Oct. Sounds like it’s still the case. – 10:37 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Do you think Harden is getting the benefit of the whistle the same way he did in years past?
Nash: “No.” – 10:35 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
Steve Nash doesn’t think Harden has been getting the benefit of the doubt with the foul calls lately. Said Harden is the poster child for the new rules, like he has earlier in the year. – 10:34 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Wolves 13
Really strong performance
Russell: 23, 10a, 5r
Edwards: 25, 4a
KAT: 23 and 7
Prince: 15 on. 6-6
Nowell: 16
McDaniels: 14 and great defense on Harden – 10:26 PM

Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Wolves get back on track, knock off Brooklyn
Wolves 136, Nets 125
On tonight’s show:
– Big offensive night in game KAT started slow
– What went into holding Harden to 13 points (4/13 shooting)
– Playing (and resting) KAT + Ant + DLo together more
– Anthony Edwards gets hurt – 10:25 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
Final: Wolves beat the Nets 136-125 to finish the road trip 2-2. Kyrie Irving dropped 30, Mills had 21 while Harden had just 13. Bad week for the defense. Nets return home to face the Lakers on Tuesday. See you all there. – 10:25 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Embarrassing defensive performance from Nets tonight. T’Wolves getting anything they want — especially down the stretch. Nash pulls Harden/Kyrie for the night.
Harden’s final line: 4-for-13 from the field, 13 points, 13 assists, five rebounds, six turnovers in 35 minutes. – 10:21 PM

Kristian Winfield @Krisplashed
James Harden hasn’t taken a shot in the 4th quarter – 10:18 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
All bench to start the 4th. A little more vulnerable with Irving running Nets than Harden, who has been off all night – 9:58 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Harden and Towns are a combined 2-16.
Wolves have been terrible in the 3rd quarters so this is an important first six minutes – 9:25 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Nets have seen it a lot already this year — Harden drives to the rim, either gets locked up or throws up a wild shot — and doesn’t get the whistle. Same thing happened in final moments of first half after running into KAT. The explosion doesn’t seem the same. He’s now 1-for-8. – 9:11 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
#Nets down 72-62 at the break after allowing .568 shooting. James Harden has just seven points on 1-of-8 shooting. Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards have combined for 32 points for the #Timberwolves. – 9:11 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
KAT smothers Harden on the final drive of the half. Wolves shot 19 FTs to Nets 8. Can’t complain about the calls so far (even if there have been a couple shaky ones)
Russell with 17, Edwards with 15. – 9:09 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Frustration showing for Harden — he was talking to Jarred Vanderbilt for a few seconds before the ball went back in — then he gave him a little push and got T’d up. Harden is 0-for-6 in 17 minutes. Nets getting run up and down the floor in the first half. – 9:06 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Vando has riled up Harden. Just drew a T for a shove. Wolves have really gotten after the Nets in this 2nd quarter. – 9:05 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
James Harden with a pair of shoves on Jared Vanderbilt. He earned the T there. – 9:05 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Harden just stopped, dropped and rolled. But not a travel, apparently – 8:45 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Jaylen Nowell really has it going. The crafty stuff and creativity allowed Finch to stay with an all-bench unit to start the second even with Harden out there. – 8:41 PM

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
Nash has been frustrated over the last few weeks with the defensive intensity at times — Nets just gave up 37 points in the first.
Harden is 0-for-4 so far. Kyrie off to a nice start with eight points, three assists and two rebounds in 10 minutes. – 8:36 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
End of the first quarter: Nets lead the Wolves 37-36. Bad start defensively for BK, but Karl Towns is just 1-for-6. Bad start for Harden, who is 0-for-4. Mills and Irving have combined for 15. Nets killing the Wolves on the boards 16-5. – 8:35 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
James Harden, Cam Thomas, Aldridge, Bembry and James Johnson is your second unit tonight. Not as non-shooter heavy as reserves past. – 8:26 PM

Jon Krawczynski @JonKrawczynski
Harden usually sees Josh Okogie when he’s in Minnesota (good chance he sees him later). But now he has the length of McDaniels to deal with. Different look – 8:23 PM

Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA
Tonight’s @PrizePicks for Wolves-Nets
DLo over 18.5 pts
– should attack BKN’s switches + drop coverage
Vando over over 9.0 rebs
– should handle BKN’s size well
Harden under 8.0 rebs
– i guess he averages 8 per, but that feels high
Edwards over 3.0 FTs made
– refs!!!! – 7:41 PM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
Nets starting: Harden, Irving, Mills, Edwards and Sharpe against the Wolves. – 7:34 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
Harden, Irving, Mills, Edwards and Sharpe will start for the #Nets tonight. – 7:33 PM

StatMuse @statmuse
Jayson Tatum today:
51 PTS
10 REB
18-28 FG
9-14 3P
He joins Damian Lillard, James Harden and Jamal Murray as the only players in NBA history with 50/10/5 and 9+ threes in a game, including playoffs. pic.twitter.com/mGqn87lvnJ5:41 PM

Matt Williams @StatsWilliams
Jayson Tatum is the 5th player in NBA history with 50 points, 10 rebounds and 9 3-pointers in a game. He joins…
Jamal Murray (2020 in playoffs)
Damian Lillard (2020)
James Harden (2016)
Kobe Bryant (2008) – 5:37 PM

More on this storyline

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. -via The Philadelphia Inquirer / January 24, 2022

Winning without Simmons certainly makes it easier for Embiid to adopt that stance … and Philadelphia will be going for its 11th victory in 13 games Monday afternoon at Washington on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Perhaps he has also been sold on a concept that executives with a growing number of rival teams say they see as Morey’s new preferred scenario: Keeping Simmons beyond the trade deadline to exhaust every last possibility for executing a complicated sign-and-trade in the offseason that finally brings James Harden to Philadelphia and routes Simmons to Brooklyn. -via marcstein.substack.com / January 17, 2022

Complicated is a polite description for such a deal, since the Sixers would be hard-capped by taking Harden in via sign-and-trade and would thus have to shed more salary than just Simmons’ contract according to the league’s luxury-tax rules to make it work financially. Yet it must be noted that there is enough noise circulating leaguewide about Harden’s reported openness to relocation this summer — after he turned down a lucrative extension from the Nets in October — to give Morey the encouragement he needs to wait. -via marcstein.substack.com / January 17, 2022

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