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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

Report: 76ers want specific All-Star in exchange for Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons handling a basketball

The Philadelphia 76ers have continued to be patient with the Ben Simmons saga, and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey maintains he is in no rush to move the star point guard. That may be because he wants to acquire one specific player via a Simmons trade.

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Monday that Morey is determined to find a way to trade Simmons for Brooklyn Nets star James Harden. The Sixers have engaged with teams recently in trade talks involving Simmons, but people with knowledge of those discussions believe Morey wants to wait until the summer so he can make a run at Harden.

Harden has a $47.3 million player option on his contract for the 2022-23 season. The 76ers are $20 million over the salary cap for next season, so they almost certainly will not be able to sign Harden even if he becomes a free agent. Rather, they would likely need to complete a sign-and-trade with the Nets involving Simmons and his $35 million salary and one other player. A recent report claimed the Sixers are trying to work Tobias Harris, who is owed $37 million next season, into potential Simmons trades.

Of course, the Nets would have to agree to any sign-and-trade deal. That is hardly a given, but there have been hints that Harden is open to moving on from Brooklyn.

Morey and Harden had a successful partnership with the Houston Rockets from 2012 to 2020. They have maintained a friendly relationship. When Morey left Houston to join the Sixers, he tried to acquire Harden from the Rockets. There has been talk for a while that he still wants to find a way to make it happen.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 10. Morey recently explained why he may lower his asking price for Simmons, but he is said to have support from ownership to take as long as he sees fit. It would not be a surprise if he wants to see how the Harden situation shakes out after the season.

Photo: Dec 27, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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