NBA.com

James Harden and Ben Simmons aren't all that different afterall. For Philadelphia, trusting the process just wasn't in the cards as Simmons' clash with Joel Embid saw the relationship beyond salvaging.

Simmons was a reluctant scorer throughout his Sixers' tenure and became the scapegoat for last year's second round playoff exit against the Hawks. After refusing to report to the team, save a brief appearance at the team's practice facility a couple months back, Simmons cited mental health issues as the culprit for why he was unable to play.

Harden on the other hand, became increasingly frustrated with Kyrie Irving's part-time status, Kevin Durant being sidelined by a MCL sprain and a less than stellar supporting cast with the Nets, this after he forced his way out of Houston in January of 2021. Throughout the first half of the season, Harden looked to still be battling through the hamstring injury he suffered last year and fans didn't see him showing the same joy he did on the court in his first year with the Nets.

As the trade deadline drew closer, reports began to surface about Harden's frustration with the organization, being unhappy living in Brooklyn, among other concerns about his role in the offense and the team's handling of Irving's vaccine situation. Despite a Harden for Simmons swap being classified as nothing more than a juicy trade rumor initially, things really began to gain steam when Nets' GM Sean Marks and Harden had a phone conversation that all but affirmed all of the assertions in various reports about him being unhappy.



Things literally came down to the wire, but Sixers GM Daryl Morey reunited with his prized player in Houston by sending a disgruntled Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first round picks to Brooklyn for Harden and Paul Millsap.

When all the dust settled, Harden got what he wanted, to land in Philly with MVP candidate Embid and for Simmons to play with the best  player in the world in Durant along with a part-time but lethal scorer in Irving.

If you take both players at their word, Harden was truly too injured to play the week leading up to his ultimate trade and Simmons was dealing with legitimate mental health concerns.

Even if there's only an ounce of truth in both cases, both players quit on their respective clubs by seeking a change of scenery and  a complementary supporting cast to their skillsets.

It shouldn't come as a surprise in the star-driven league where players recruit and assemble superteams like playing ball in a park, but this is the state of affairs in the NBA.

Players can dictate terms to organizations and if they're willing to absorb the financial penalty, wait things out and ultimately get that they want. While this trade may benefit Philadelphia in the short-term and Brooklyn now and in the future, it sets a dangerous precedent for how unhappy players conduct themselves at the end of their time with an organization.






If you follow all the reports over the last few weeks regarding James Harden's chances of being dealt to Philadelphia, you'd think it's almost a forgone conclusion that he is leaving Brooklyn.

In reality, that couldn't be further from the truth.

According to OddsChecker, Harden has -500 odds, or a 83.3 percent chance to stay with the Nets.

Again, a quick scroll on #NBATwitter and its gloom and doom in Nets' World and near celebration in the City of Brotherly Love.

While it's clear that Brooklyn's GM Sean Marks and Sixers' GM Daryl Morey have had an open trade dialogue, the same can be said for the other 28 GMs across the league.

For Marks, he has to at least listen to what Morey is willing to offer, but anything less than a king's ransom shouldn't keep him on the phone for long.

Things will only heat up with less 48 hours until Thursday's trade deadline, but for the time being hedge your bet that Harden remains a Net.



 

NBA.com

Things are getting scary in Brooklyn. Not the kind of scary that James Harden alluded to when he dubbed the Big 3 lineup including himself, Kyrie Irving and Durant with that exact moniker, but a different kind of scary.

The prospect of breaking up the Big 3 era before it really even started, the idea that Harden is now a malcontent by mirroring his final days in Houston, is the media narrative swirling around NBA Twitter.  A proposed Ben- Simmons for Harden swap is making the rounds with fans and media speculating a deal could be imminent.

The reality is, the Nets won't trade Harden, that is unless Philadelphia includes Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle as a starting point. Sean Marks, by all reports, isn't shopping Harden, and by his own remarks, Harden wants to stay in Brooklyn.

However in today's social media age-the age of misinformation-it's become gloom and doom around Nets' World.

Reading the tea leaves and casting aside erroneous reports and clear media plants to drive up and down the value of a particular player, it's almost a certainty that Harden will remain a Net past Thursday's trade deadline. 

Sixers' GM Daryl Morey covets Harden and can't wait to unload Simmons, but Philadelphia will need to offer a king's ransom to even get Marks' attention.

Any deal in-season is in all likelihood off the table, but depending how the Nets' season plays out, the trade rumors will start circulating this off-season.

The Sixers don't have the cap space to sign Harden outright, so a sign-and-trade scenario is the only way Morey can hope to pry Harden away. The reality is, mired in an eight game slide with Durant injured, Harden hobbled by injury and Irving available only part-time, from the outside looking in, it seems like the sky is falling in Brooklyn.

Things can change quickly in the NBA. Durant is reportedly right on schedule with his rehab, Joe Harris needs to make a decision in the next two weeks to continue rehabbing his ankle or opt for a second procedure, while Irving still remains unvaccinated with no end in sight to New York City's vaccine mandate.

There are a lot of  'what ifs' in Brooklyn, but if Irving is eligible to play full-time and Durant and Harris' rehab go well, people will be singing a much different tune in March.

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